Nova Scotia Power says wait time for permits is down after adding staff

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Nova Scotia


Delays in obtaining permits had slowed contractors, affecting construction projects

Posted: 33 Minutes Ago

Blair Leon owns Alliance Electrical Contracting in Sydney. After Nova Scotia Power made changes and hired more staff, he said he’s spending less time applying for permits. (Matthew Moore/CBC)

An electrician in Nova Scotia is applauding changes at Nova Scotia Power, saying he’s wasting much less time waiting to get permits approved. 

In June, 

several Cape Breton contractors
voiced concerns about long waits on hold with the utility, saying they could last upwards of eight hours.

“Basically couldn’t operate, it was impossible,” said Blair Leon, owner of Alliance Electrical Contracting in Sydney. “We’re probably a minimum a month and a half behind schedule with permitting.”

He said there were times when he would call when the permit department opened at 7 a.m., and would be waiting on hold until supper time. The permit allows contractors to inform the utility that electrical work needs to be done on new or existing homes. 

This created delays in electrical work, affecting construction projects in the province.

16% increase in permit requests

Now, with wait times down to 30 minutes, Leon said the situation is like night and day. He has more time to complete projects rather than waiting on the phone, and is  slowly chipping away at the backlog of projects on his desk.

“I don’t think anyone will complain about 15-20 minutes, that’s not a terrible thing,” he said. “You can work with that, but obviously eight hours plus is not acceptable, right?”

Nova Scotia Power said when the delays were brought to their attention, they hired and trained 15 new staff. A surge in construction projects is one reason so many electricians have faced delays, the utility said.

Matt Drover, Nova Scotia Power’s senior director of energy delivery, said “demand was much higher in 2023 than it was in 2022,” citing a 16 per cent increase in permit requests.

Drover said electricians who call Nova Scotia Power can now select different departments within the permit process, allowing larger contractors to speak with a different representative than electricians working on smaller projects.

The previous system, “resulted in wait times that were much higher than we would have wanted,” Drover said.


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