Letter to the Editor

Yukoners kept in the dark too long Open letter to the Yukon Utilities Board’s acting chair Wendy Shanks, re follow-up on complaint regarding…

Yukoners kept

in the dark too long

Open letter to the Yukon Utilities Board’s acting chair Wendy Shanks, re follow-up on complaint regarding electrical outage system planning resulting from the January 29 blackout

On February 3, the Utilities Consumers’ Group filed a complaint to the Yukon Utilities Board regarding the above as well as the protocol for disconnecting secondary power to consumers during such outages.

On March 13, Yukon Energy responded to the board regarding secondary power protocol.

This response was acceptable, but there has yet to be any accountability for the far more important concern … the blackout.

In a letter, YEC president David Morrison wrote that the board will address the outage system considerations separately by April 11, 2006.

Utilities Consumers’ Group received a copy of this report on May 16.

There now needs to be a follow-up by the board on its effort to improve the electrical system. It has now been four months since the failure.

In the meantime, our organization also invited Yukon Energy administration to our annual general meeting to give us its explanation of this outage and the steps taken to avoid future problems.

We also asked if the utility plans to decrease the response time in getting the system up and running if such an emergency arises again.

Morrison stated that it would be difficult to decrease the response time if such an outage was to occur again.

They could fine-tune the system, but no major progress in response time would result.

He reiterated that when a breakdown occurs at one of the company’s major generating facilities, a complete outage most often occurs because the system is overloaded.

Then it is necessary to build up the energy supply needed to restore the complete system, it takes considerable time to get the hydro and diesel generators online, one portion at a time.

The blame for this incident was placed entirely on the loss of one generator at the Aishihik facility, leaving only one Aishihik turbine and Whitehorse generators three and four operating, resulting in system overload.

I have had time to research these reactions from the utilities and wish to make these observations:

• First, if the grid system is working satisfactorily, when a shortage of power occurs due to failure of one specific generating source (as It did at Aishihik), the bank of circuit breakers or switches in the various substations should separate distribution lines to ensure there is not a complete power failure.

Since this did not occur, it would suggest there was a collapse in the distribution system controls at the power substations during this breakdown.

This needs to be investigated, rectified and authorized by the board!

• Second, with one generator still operating at Aishihik, as was this case, and with all Whitehorse generators 1, 2, 3 and 4 operable immediately, portions of the system should have remained on line with enough energy available to restore all other areas much more efficiently.

A 24/7 standby ready supply needs further investigation and assurance by the board!

• Third, if all diesel generators (in Whitehorse and all other communities) are maintained properly and standby ready, they can be brought online by immediately starting them (presumably by digital power command) and putting their power into the system as soon as they have reached their proper oil pressure.

Certainly these backup diesel generators were and are fully functional, ensuring reliable back-up 24/7. This must be investigated and established by the board!

To summarize, the above would indicate that this type of blackout should not occur on the grid in the first place.

Such a massive failure illustrates a major problem in the standard distribution and supply systems.

If it does accidentally occur, reaction time of three hours to get the system up and running is neither practical nor dependable.

We do appreciate some of the concrete corrective actions being taken by Yukon Energy and presumably Yukon Electrical.

In light of the January 29 blackout, it is the board’s obligation to place immediate stringent objectives for corrective action by both these utilities ensuring safe, reliable and reasonably priced electricity to all consumers.

Even though we are now having bright sunny days, an expedited response is requested, as Yukon Electrical customers deserve answers and security to this important issue.

Roger Rondeau


Thanks for making Toy Run a success

The second annual Motorcycle Toy Run Ride was a big success once again.

My appreciation goes out to the 12 motorcycle riders that ventured out on a questionable weather day.

Recognition goes to those who donated money or toys to support the ride — Wal-Mart (Renu), Alpine Medical (James & his wife), Canadian Tire (Craig), Shoppers (Darrell Pasloski), Ron Smoler, Yvonne Bourassa, Nita and her daughter.

My gratitude goes to the HOG Chapter for all their support and generous donation.

I am proud to be part of the group.

Credit goes to Scott Ross from CHON-FM for the interview. Vince (from the Whitehorse Star) you are truly an enduring guy. Thanks for being there again this year.

To bylaw, you’re a great sport, thanks for the flashing lights. Last, but not least, one big whopping thank you to my husband for standing by me and to my daughter, Jennifer who worked her butt off to get out the flyers, collect toys, stop traffic and stand by me.

I do believe we blew their minds! Thank to all the drivers of Whitehorse for your patience at the stoplights.

Debbie Taylor


Poverty concerns

This is in regard to the poor lady who cannot get a new mattress from Social Services. If this article was aiming at sympathy, it failed miserably.

Several years ago, that lady and myself might have been in the same boat — single moms with not many employable skills, but physically and mentally able to work.

Judging by her age, the lady’s child must have been school-aged for a while.

My ex-husband pays me $400 a month for two children. I chose to get a job.

I started out at $9 an hour; now I am up to $15. I also have a side job where I work every weekend when the boys are with their father.

For extra pocket money I go out twice a week to clean an office. I now own a house, nothing fancy but it’s cozy and clean, and I was recently able to give my old 1987 truck to my son and get a newer model.

Several years ago I also had to buy a new mattress. I had to go with the cheap model. My mattress is still in good shape. Maybe it’s because I spend half the time on it that that lady does.

I also can’t sock away $200 for my sons’ education, but the education my sons are getting is that there is no shame in working an honest job for a living — no matter how much you get paid or what you do.

As to the lady: stop complaining, get your butt off that lumpy mattress and get a job.

Stephanie Sinclair