Desperation looms after six interruptions in one day


If the credit card machines in hardware stores had any power right now, the Yellowknifers would buy a pitchfork.

By 5:10 p.m. Sunday, city residents had indulged in at least six separate blackouts in one 24-hour period. In Bahshoko, which lies on the same water system, residents reported a similar fate.

(Yes, we adjust the number of outages and the time we take. It could be a long night.)

Neither the NWT Power Corporation, which generates power for Yellowknife, nor Northland Utilities, which distributes it, had any definitive answers as to what was happening.

“We are continuing to investigate the cause of the outages,” a spokesperson for the electric company wrote in a Facebook post shortly before 5:30 p.m. “A falling tree or branch on the transmission line from Snare Hydro is one possible cause we are looking into but we have not yet confirmed if this is the case.”

The North Slave area was having a stormy weekend, leading some residents to speculate that gusts of up to 60 km/h may have brought down trees and interfered with the supply.

The Snare water system supplies electricity to both Yellowknife and Behchokǫ̀. Both are on their mini-grid, an island of sporadic electricity usually backed by diesel generation whose absence seemed evident on Sunday. Unlike southern Canada, North Slave can’t rely on energy from anywhere else if both hydrogen and diesel go down.


On Sunday, the blackout began shortly after 11:30 a.m. and lasted for more than an hour, punctuated by the shortest restoration period for some customers around 12:10 p.m. before resuming.

Power began returning to some Yellowknife customers at 12:40 p.m., only to disappear again at 1:05 p.m., marking the fourth separate outage since the blackout, which came on Saturday evening.

The fifth came just after 4pm and the sixth an hour later, turning what had been an online murmur of online rage into a torrent that might be a powerhouse for the city, if only the NTPC could screw it up. the curse.

“Seriously, again?” One resident wrote. Others cried over Sunday pancakes and pancakes that would have baked better had they been left in a cupboard.

“Come now. My cabbage rolls are at stake here,” another resident tweeted.

In addition to the consequences of cooking, anyone with sensitive electronic equipment (or, say, a working radio station) would be understandably concerned about the impact of multiple blackouts.

Will Ganyon, from Leave the role of climatology On the NWT Infrastructure section earlier this year, he tweeted: “More than 4 blackouts in less than 24 hours. Maybe it’s time to press NTPC_News to innovate?”

Earlier on Sunday afternoon, the Electricity Corporation said that “stable energy recovery efforts are hampered by several factors” and an investigation was launched into both the outages and the delay in restoring electricity. Of particular interest will be what happened to Yellowknife’s diesel power plant, which usually restores power within minutes when water transport fails.

in TweetNorthland Utilities said the outage across the city on Sunday was due to a “loss of generation supply” from the power company, but did not elaborate.

At least one store, the Yellowknife bookstore, has surrendered.

By 6:30 p.m., the Capitol Theater in Yellowknife had also called the day, abandoning stop-and-go movie screenings citing the risk of damage to its equipment.

The simultaneous loss of power in Yellowknife and Bhachokou may indicate a broader problem in transmitting power from the Snare hydro network, which supplies both communities, although diesel generators are usually available to start operating quickly.

A small area in downtown Yellowknife has already been designated for a Sunday morning blackout to allow Northland to carry out some work, although the only notification to any business in the area appears to have been made. Thursday Tweet.

The outages come as the energy company seeks to increase power rates in several areas of the territory, including a rate increase in Yellowknife – projected at about 3.5 percent over two years – which will first affect distributor Northland but is sure to be moved After that to Northland customers in the city.

On the other hand, customers point to service interruptions such as outages on weekends and ask how price increases can be justified. On the other hand, the electricity company has long argued that the outages are partly caused by aging infrastructure and a lack of liquidity to carry out the urgently needed upgrades and replacements.