Reliability

POWERING OUR COMMUNITIES, EVERY DAY


You count on us to power your lives and communities. Providing safe, reliable electricity every day is our commitment to you. Our teams work across the province—from Yarmouth to Wreck Cove and every community in between—to maintain, strengthen and continue to improve the essential service we provide Nova Scotians.

Extreme weather and our power grid


An electrical engineer rebuilding the lines in Ingonish

Our weather is changing, and we’re experiencing more extreme weather more often. In the last five years, the average number of hours of wind gusts over 80 km an hour is up 41% from the five years before that.

You don’t have to look any further than the start of 2022, when we had 8 significant storms in less than three months. And in the fall of 2022, Hurricane Fiona caused unprecedented damage across the province, uprooting thousands of trees and damaging nearly 3,000 power poles.

With these storms, we’re seeing more high winds causing branches and trees to break and come into contact with the power system causing outages. To address extreme weather challenges, we’ve been making changes in how and where we invest.

How we're investing in our system


Each year, we invest approximately $180 million in new equipment, upgrades, refurbishments and tree trimming province wide.          

We invest on average between $20 and 25 million in vegetation management throughout the year to support tree trimming and tree maintenance across the province.

Compared to 2019 post Dorian, the investments we made in strengthening the grid in 2022 led to a 14% improvement in the length of outages and 15% improvement in the frequency of outages.

Going forward, our plans include increasing our tree trimming investment year over year and nearly doubling our annual investment over the next five years, to continue to improve reliability for our customers.

Gray lightbulb icon Colour lightbulb icon

Did you know?

According to a recent study by Electricity Canada, our performance is ranked second best for length and frequency of outages—when compared to our Atlantic Canadian and Maine utility neighbours, who are challenged by similar increases in severe weather and changing climate.

Reliability Projects in your community


We’re always inspecting, testing and improving our infrastructure through proactive plans and innovative technology. We upgrade the power grid through large scale projects, identified every year for each region, by making equipment upgrades and repairs, to better stand up to our changing weather.

Frequently Asked Questions


Doesn’t NS Power invest in maintenance?

Each year, we invest approximately $180 million in new equipment, upgrades and refurbishments, and tree trimming province wide. Compared to 2019 post Dorian, the investments we made in strengthening the grid in 2022 led to a 14% improvement in the length of outages and 15% improvement in the frequency of outages.

We know we need to do more. That’s why, going forward, our plans will include increasing our tree trimming investment year over year, and nearly doubling our annual investment over the next five years to continue to improve reliability. Our team continues to be committed to providing safe, reliable service to our customers.

What causes power outages on a calm and sunny day?

Outages are sometimes caused by elements out of our control—everything from motor vehicle accidents and copper theft to wildlife coming into contact with electrical equipment.

Also, trees damaged or weakened during severe or intense storms don’t always fall or come down on lines until days or even weeks later.

What causes most of our power outages?

Severe weather is the leading cause of power outages in Nova Scotia—its impacts lead to weakened trees which can fall on our lines. It’s why we spend $20 to 25 million each year on tree trimming along approximately 1000 kms of power lines to prevent outages.

While severe weather causes most of the power outages Nova Scotians experience, there are other reasons you might lose power—even on a blue-sky day. This could include a motor vehicle accident, like when a car hits one of our poles, construction, or even animals or birds coming into contact with our electrical equipment.  In some cases, trees that have been weakened by previous wind storms, can also fall into powerlines days or even weeks after the storm is over.  As part of our tree-trimming program we remove these weakened trees.

You can find out more about the top causes of power outages on our blog.

Why is the power always going out every time we have wind, rain or snow storms?

Our weather in Nova Scotia is changing, and it’s bringing more intense storms and high winds.

We’re experiencing more high winds over 80 km/hour more often. Over the last five years, we’ve seen a 41% increase in high wind days. It’s also not safe for our crews to be up in bucket trucks when the winds are that high. This can cause delays in restoring power.

Ice buildup and heavy wet snow can also weaken powerlines and cause branches or trees to fall on our powerlines and equipment.

Our power grid is complex and was built over 100 years ago—it’s being exposed to more severe weather now than ever before. We’re working to strengthen and modernize the grid, so it can stand up to changing weather and meet the needs of our customers. 

How are you preventing outages caused by fallen trees and branches?

We invest about $20 to 25 million in tree trimming and maintenance every year. Our tree trimmers clear trees and branches along approximately 1,000 km of powerlines annually. That’s about the same distance from Halifax to Quebec City.

We know we need to do more. That’s why, going forward, our plans will include increasing our tree trimming investment year over year, and nearly doubling our annual investment over the next five years to continue to improve reliability. Our team continues to be committed to providing safe, reliable service to our customers.

You can visit nspower.ca/trees to see tree trimming work in your community and learn how we’re working to prevent outages in your area. 

Why don’t you bury the power lines? Wouldn’t this help prevent outages?

We continue working with municipalities and developers to install underground systems, when it makes sense and the impact on neighbourhoods and communities is minimal. But while underground powerlines do have reliability benefits, they also have some challenges.

To bury our equipment underground—including powerlines, switches, transformers and other electrical equipment—a significant amount of digging, trenching and construction is required. And the cost for this work is significant.

Access to underground systems can also be very challenging. When there is an outage caused by an impact to the underground system, it can be much harder to locate the problem and a challenge for crews to access the equipment.

Sometimes, we may even need to tear up roads and yards to find the issue and fix it, making power outages more inconvenient, last longer and more costly to repair.

For more info on why we don’t bury all powerlines—and how we’re also focused on continuing to strengthen our electrical system—read our blog article.

Modernizing our grid

We’re building a clean energy future for our province and modernizing our grid, to offer more choice and convenience to all Nova Scotians when using electricity.