Dieppe — The fine folks at NB Power are struggling to make sense of a sudden collapse of hundreds of power poles that occurred in the Acadian Peninsula after last week’s ice storm.
Engineers and NB Power officials are unsure whether the collapse was a one-time disaster, or if it signals the need for newer, stronger, pricier infrastructure. Rather than take any chances, NB Power president Gaëtan Thomas is in Dieppe today to discuss poles with the professionals at Angie’s Show Palace.
“I’m sort of at my wit’s end here,” said Thomas. “I have people complaining to our linesmen about power outages, and now this awful collapse… I mean, the engineers think they know, but can we really trust their judgment? Each pole is like 17 years old and costs $400 to replace, so I don’t want to jump to any hasty conclusions. I need to speak to someone with longtime pole experience.”
We followed Thomas as he stepped into Angie’s, which, although dimly lit, was still visibly run-down and filthy.
“Here at Angie’s, we know poles,” bragged club owner Lyle H. Lutes, sporting a leather NASCAR cap and a tight-fitting Sons of Anarchy T-Shirt. “We know exactly how much weight a single pole can support, how often to replace poles, and when to shine ’em up real nice before a big night. NB Power should have come to us on day one if they needed advice. Oh well, they’re reaching out now and that’s the important thing.”
Lutes told Thomas that on the average weekend night, a single one of their poles supports up to 1,200 lbs of weight.
“That’s about 100 to 130 pounds per girl, and we’ve got maybe 10 of them, if none of them call in sick or get knocked up or anything. When the poles start to get worn out over a couple years, we just make sure to assign the smaller girls to those poles, until we can get a new one — new pole, I mean, not new girl.
“Anyways, every night there are dozens of creeps sitting here with their eyes just glued to the poles! With so many supervisors, not much bad can happen. Shouldn’t you NB Power guys be watching your own poles to make sure they don’t all topple over?”
Thomas seemed confused by the question, so asked one of his own.
“I just need to know what happens when disaster strikes and a pole at Angie’s does collapse — do people complain to you?” he ventured. “Do they want their money back?”
“Heck no!” bellowed Lutes. “If they complained I’d have security throw them out on their ass. You should do the same to whiny New Brunswickers wanting their precious heat and lights.”
Lutes, who was in a generous mood today, said he had some extra poles out back that NB Power can borrow until they figure out what to do. “They’re strong, they’re shiny — some are a little rusted, but your men can buff that out I’m sure. These can tide you over till you sort out your own pole problems.
“I guess, unlike NB Power, we just know how to run a successful business,” Lutes concluded, loading the grimy poles into the back of Thomas’s truck. “And like I said: we know poles.”