Cancelled power outage irked many

What happens when you schedule a power outage and nothing happens? Well, for some local businesses, it was a bit hectic.
“It was quite inconvenient,” said Dave McBride, manager of the Canada Safeway store here.
When Hydro One announced plans to cut power to the town for four hours between 1-5 p.m. on Sunday, McBride told his staff and customers the store would be open from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., instead of closing at 6 p.m. as it usually does.
But when it was revealed Saturday that the power outage was not going to take place, it left McBride scrambling to keep his store open as usual.
“It was only due to the spirit and diligence of our volunteer employees that we were able to stay open until 6 [p.m.],” he stressed, noting his employees, as well as many others, had made plans for the afternoon, which had to be scrapped on short notice.
Other businesses in town faced a similar situation.
Wal-Mart manager Cindy Kellett noted Monday morning her employees were able to make the adjustment with a minimum of stress. In fact, the cancellation proved to be less of an inconvenience than might have been the case had it gone ahead as scheduled.
“I was more worried about it going later [than the planned four hours],” she said. “The fact that it didn’t go at all made me very happy.”
But Paul Noonan, co-owner of La Place Rendez-Vous here, said considerable planning had gone into preparing for the planned outage.
He said he even went to the extent of renting generators to keep the computers and refrigeration systems running—plans that proved to be unnecessary.
“What affected us more were the arrangements made prior to the cancellation,” Noonan noted. “We had gone through a lot of preparation for it.
“It definitely created a big inconvenience.”
For those west of Fort Frances, the situation was even more confusing. After having initially announced the power would be out there from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. on Sunday, Hydro One called people on Saturday to say the outage was cancelled.
But then the power went out anyway Sunday.
Noonan said he was more puzzled by the lack of explanation from Hydro One than the consequences of it.
Hydro One media liaison Al Manchee did not return two phone call from the Times on Monday morning.
Meanwhile, Steve Gagne, general superintendent at the Fort Frances Power Corp., said Monday morning he was expecting an e-mail or phone call from Hydro One.
But there had been no explanation received as of 10 a.m.
“We haven’t heard a thing yet,” said Gagne.

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