What Causes Outages
Common causes of power outages
The most common cause of power outages in Nova Scotia is trees interfering with power lines, usually during high wind conditions.
Many outages are caused by weather events, and the biggest cause is trees and branches contacting power lines, usually from strong winds. Outages can also be caused by lightning strikes, heavy snow or ice buildup on lines and equipment, high winds, hurricanes or other extreme weather conditions.
Salt contamination is a common issue with coastal utilities, and even some inland areas that use road salt. Salt water is a great conductor of electricity that can cause electrical shorting on parts of our system designed to protect it, such as insulators. Wind blows salt onto equipment over a period of hours or days, and when the temperature rises, the moisture in the air causes arcing which leads to outages. When it rains, the salt usually washes away and resolves the issue, but continued moisture in windy conditions can also blow more salt on the equipment causing the issue to reoccur.
Outages can also be caused by motor vehicle accidents impacting poles or equipment, equipment failure, construction activity, and trees or animals contacting power lines and equipment. We do our best to protect wildlife around our equipment - read about our Osprey Relocation Program.
To help prevent unplanned outages, we sometimes need to disconnect power to certain areas temporarily while our crews safely perform maintenance or make upgrades to equipment. While the safety of our customers and employees is our first priority, we make every effort to ensure planned outages are as short as possible and take place at times of least inconvenience to customers. In situations like these, we’ll call affected customers beforehand to let them know the expected duration of the outage. You can update your account information online to make sure we have the correct contact information.