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What's behind the excuses for Nova Scotia Power's failed storm response?

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Photo: Walter A. Aue/flickr

So there were these trees, see. And, it being July, these trees had leaves. Leafy leaves. Wet leaves. And wind that blew the wet leaves, so some of those trees fell down.  

So -- this still being Nova Scotia -- there were power outages. Too many to count, or at least for Nova Scotia Power's computer system to keep track of. Your call is important to us.

After the storm -- as predictably as the weather is unpredictable -- we had NSP's if-you-don't-buy-this-one-how-about-that-one? laundry list of lame excuses.

There was the weatherman. Forecasters got wind speeds wrong, making it tough for NSP to restore power for the up-to 245,000 of us whose lights went out, some for as long as a week. Doesn't make sense to you? You're not alone. Premier Stephen McNeil labelled that one "ridiculous."

Well then, how about those leafy leaves, 2014's version of 2006's salty fog? In NSP's version, those leaves were our fault. Of course. We like our leafy leaves so much we wouldn't let the nice linemen trim them, so they wouldn't mess with their power lines.

In its report last week to the Utility and Review Board, in fact, the power company singles out grumpy cottage owners, who "value their privacy and want as little clearing as deemed absolutely necessary" for creating the problems that led to the outages that led to the outrage.

Funny. I've owned a cottage for more than a decade and I can't recall the power company ever asking me if I'd mind a little nip and tuck to keep the branches out of the way. I wouldn't.

Once you get past NSP's all-purpose failure-to-communicate (ya think?) confusion and beyond its blame-the-customer bafflegab, here is what you won't find in the power company's 173-page "Post-Tropical Storm Arthur: Review of Nova Scotia Power's Storm Response…"

There is no questioning -- no even mentioning -- decades of boardroom decisions to keep cutting back front-line service workers while exponentially increasing pay packages for front-office executives, whose bonuses are at least partly a corporate thank-you for their shareholder-pleasing service cuts.

Bottom line: don't put your faith in this company to fix what ails it.

Photo: Walter A. Aue/flickr

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