Week of power outages in N.L. prompts calls for inquiry

Bud Gaulton/QMI Agency files

Bud Gaulton/QMI Agency files

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:49 PM ET

The opposition is demanding answers after Newfoundlanders and Labradorians suffered nearly a week of rotating power outages amid freezing cold weather.

"I have friends with houses with frozen pipes, others who have had multiple rolling blackouts and can't keep their homes warm," wrote Russell Wangersky in the Telegram newspaper.

Newfoundland Power launched the rolling blackouts across the province Thursday, saying it couldn't meet the demand.

The planned blackouts continued through the weekend, accompanied by unplanned outages caused by a plant malfunction and a transformer fire.

On Saturday 190,000 customers were without power in the province of 527,464 people.

A St. John's long-term care home had to be evacuated Saturday.

Schools will reopen Thursday for the first time since before Christmas.

More rolling outages were announced Wednesday afternoon, but were over by the evening.

"I keep checking @NFPower website for rolling blackouts. It's like friggin Hunger Games being scared that your street is on the list," Janet Kovich tweeted on the busy hashtag #DarkNL.

Blaming the province's aging infrastructure, Premier Kathy Dunderdale said this is why her government championed the Muskrat Falls hydroelectricity project to meet growing demand. But construction won't be completed until 2017.

The province's consumer advocate asked for a review of the Public Utilities Board. The opposition took it a step further and demanded an inquiry.

"I would expect the premier to embrace it as an option to both provide a higher level of accountability and to assure ratepayers that proper management of the system is ongoing," said NDP Leader Lorraine Michael.


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