Five power outages occurred in Dawson City, Mayo and Whitehorse over the Canada Day weekend.
According to a news release issued by Yukon Energy on July 4, the unrelated outages were caused by lightning and issues with several Whitehorse hydro units.
Guy Morgan, vice president of operations at Yukon Energy, said his crews are responding as quickly as they can against an onslaught of weather over the weekend.
“We can’t predict a lot of this stuff,” Morgan said. “We tend to adapt as best we can, if we know that there’s a significant lightning storm in an area, we have the ability to isolate that community away from the grid.”
On July 1, approximately 1,400 people experienced an outage in Dawson City caused by lightning. The community was partially restored after eight minutes, and fully restored after an hour.
A second outage, also caused by lightning, occurred in the area on July 2 for another eight minutes.
“It’s not something that we’ve seen a lot of,” Morgan said. “It’s certainly challenging, it’s a lot of weather-watching on our part.”
The Yukon doesn’t have the same capacity for lighting detection as regions down south, he explained.
“We see a lot of the strikes after they happen.”
Three more outages were caused by power trips at three different hydro units in Whitehorse.
The third outage on July 2 affected about 10,000 customers in Mayo, Southern Lakes, and several Whitehorse neighborhoods — including the south end of downtown, Porter Creek and Takhini.
On the following day, the same parts of the city were affected again. Both outages lasted less than 10 minutes, with full service resumed within the hour.
The final outage occurred around midnight on July 4, affecting 2,950 customers in Porter Creek and Takhini.
Morgan urged Yukoners to be patient through outages during fire season, which requires closer inspection before re-energizing a line.
“We don’t want to be the cause of fires.… It does take a bit of time to get our guys in the air, finding the line, just making sure we don’t have a structure down or that we’re going to start a fire,” Morgan said.
“[Crews are] doing what they need to do to make sure that we keep the lights on and we address any issues as they come up.”
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