FREDERICTON -- NB Power says severe weather in December and January cost it $12 million to restore power in New Brunswick.

The Crown utility says more than 88,000 customers were without power as a result of winter storms, which included freezing rain, high winds and heavy snow.

Some people lost their power as many as six times during storms that hit southern parts of the province particularly hard at the end of December and the beginning of January.

One storm dropped 73 centimetres of snow in southern New Brunswick, and the Canadian Red Cross opened warming centres for people without power as residents and work crews coped with bitterly cold temperatures.

The total cost includes nearly $9 million that was spent on contracted crews and $3 million in extra costs for utility crews and materials, plus meals, travel and lodging costs for 600 people involved in the 11-day effort to restore electricity.

NB Power president Gaetan Thomas says despite the cost of the storms, the utility expects to make a profit in the 2013-14 fiscal year.

"These were the most damaging storms to hit our power grid in decades, and I want to assure our customers that our rates will not be affected by this expense and the cost of the restoration will not be reflected on monthly power bills," he said in a statement Thursday.

The utility says it is planning to expand its tree trimming program when it starts in the spring. Some of that work involves cleaning up the damage caused by the storms and trimming trees to help prevent outages.