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Friday, December 02, 2022

Many Peterborough residents disappointed after tossing spoiled food from fridge, freezer as power outages persist

After more than three days without electricity, some people in Peterborough were feeling the stress of being without it and losing food on Tuesday.

Saturday’s storm, classified as a derecho or high-speed line of thunderstorms, swept through the Peterborough area, causing damage and power outages in the city and county.

The city announced late Tuesday that most residents in the city expected to have electricity back by the end of Tuesday.

People without electricity can still charge their devices and access showers at the Peterborough Sport and Wellness Center, Healthy Planet Arena and Kinsman Civic Center on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Power cuts have been frequent in parts of the city, forcing many people to lose out on fresh produce such as meat, milk, eggs, cheese and fresh fruits and vegetables.

Peterborough Public Health advises people to throw food out of the fridge if the power is off for more than 24 hours and the freezer after more than 48 hours.

Peterborough resident Michael Mackin was disappointed that he had to throw most perishable food out of his fridge and freezer. ,

Mackin said he was working from home when he heard Environment Canada’s warning on the radio moments before he heard the roar, which he described as sounding like a freight train.

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“I’ve seen tornadoes before working in Texas and I thought, holy, this is a tornado,” Mackin said.

“I didn’t see the funnel cloud, but strong winds were blowing, everything was picking up. I thought, Oh no, I’m going to lose the roof.”

“Why politicians say like this, you are going to be without electricity for three days or four days, alert us,” he said.

“But nobody comes to you, nobody tells you to sit, and you just sit here. I throw away eight bags of food already because I have a freezer and a big fridge.

Mackin said he is better than many people, but he worries about what will happen to those who can’t replenish their food.

“We are doing fine. Me and my wife, we do fine compared to other people in this neighborhood,” he said.

“When it’s all said and done, it’s going to cost me over $1,000, probably more.”

Mackin considers himself lucky that he can at least make use of his barbecue but sympathizes with those who don’t have that option.

“What we’re doing is using our barbecue to cook food and boil water and get coffee around the neighborhood,” he said.

As people continue, power will be restored soon, the damage has already been done, especially for those on low incomes, said Ashley Aitken, general manager of Kavarth Food Share.

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“It’s such a huge expense to replace all your perishable and frozen foods when the costs are much higher than they are now, for our customers, it will clearly be a struggle,” she said.

“On the other hand, too many of our food banks have gone without electricity for so long that their fresh and frozen foods must also be discarded.”

He said the problem is that most of the city’s food banks are without hydroelectricity and unable to accept perishable food items.

“We’re all waiting for Hydro to be restored, in the meantime, there are a lot of product items buying,” Aitken said.

“We got a big egg shipment today that we bought. We have a big shipment coming tomorrow. Our friends at Feed the Need are shipping extra frozen meals for us tomorrow.”

Thanks to a backup generator for their freezer, there was minimal loss of produce, which included yogurt, milk and small amounts of other products, she said.

“Thankfully it happened on a weekend where we usually try to take out all our products on Fridays,” she said.

“Knowing it was a long weekend, we got extras, so we didn’t lose too much.”

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