Blackout blindsides power providers

Identifying the source of a power outage should be simple, says Craig Steinbeck. When a power grid is re-energized, the area where the problem…

Identifying the source of a power outage should be simple, says Craig Steinbeck.

When a power grid is re-energized, the area where the problem originated will come up without power, thereby localizing the issue, said the Yukon Electrical Company Ltd. customer service manager.

“It’s like seeing that a broken toaster isn’t working (when the power goes on),” said Jay Massie, superintendent of operations at Yukon Electrical.

But nothing came up broken after the power was restored following a grid-wide power failure on Thanksgiving Monday.

The power was out in some areas for up to three hours.

“If there is a problem out there, for one, we wouldn’t have been able to re-energize,” said Massie. “We didn’t have to repair anything — everything re-energized in the end.”

Furthermore, the power grid is designed to keep power outages from spreading.

“It can’t be distribution,” said Steinbeck. “The system is designed to shut off (locally). It isn’t supposed to cascade down on the whole system.”

“A total grid collapse, generally it has something to do with generation or the transmission. For it to be on the distribution side just shouldn’t be,” said Massie.

On Friday, power outages only affected the area where power lines were located, he said.

Sunday’s power outage was due to a problem at Whitehorse’s hydro station — the grid’s main power source.

Monday’s outage remains a mystery.

Yukon Electrical distributes most of the power in the territory. It has inspected its entire system and has not identified a source for the outage.

And the Crown-owned corporation charged with running generation and transmission, Yukon Energy, has no idea what happened on Monday either.

“We’ve looked through, we’ve checked our system and we can’t find any reason why the power would have gone down,” said corporation spokesperson Janet Patterson.

“It’s like finding a needle in a haystack,” she said.

Both companies say they are reviewing their systems again.

A lineman working for Yukon Electrical who is familiar with Sherwood Mining’s Minto mine said the outage was due to a problem connecting and syncing the mine’s diesel generators with the main power grid.

“Whoever is giving you that information is not correct,” said Patterson.

“There is no connection with the Minto mine,” she said. There is no firm date for the planned connection, she added.

The Minto mine was schedule to be connected with the grid on November 1st, but those plans have been delayed.

This leaves everyone guessing.

“Everything quit,” said Massie. “Nothing was wrong in our system. We had no trees. And even if we had a tree, it should never shut the whole thing down.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Motorcyclist, car passenger dead after crash on Alaska Highway near blue bridge

Motorcycle rider, 43, from Whitehorse and car passenger, 47, from Manitoba pronounced dead at scene

In Portals, artist Dee Bailey finds safety, comfort in whimsical landscapes

The exhibition opened at Arts Underground on July 3

Rezoning process of industrial lot starts

Public hearing scheduled for July 27

Yukon River Chinook run not as disastrous as feared, but still small

This year’s Yukon River Chinook salmon run isn’t as disastrous as originally… Continue reading

New contract approved for landfill management

Norcope Construction Group will be responsible for “daily operations” at the landfill

Today’s mailbox: COVID reopening

Letter to the editor published July 3

Vuntut Gwitchin councillor submits resignation

Vuntut Gwitchin councillor Cheryl Charlie has submitted her resignation, leaving Chief Dana… Continue reading

City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Ancient lake bed sediments, unusual plants are markers of the Takhini salt flats

It’s one of the Yukon’s best open geological secrets, a well-known but… Continue reading

Yukon University hires director of finance

Yukon University announced in a press release on June 29 that Sheila… Continue reading

Diamond Tooth Gerties to reopen

The Klondike Visitors Association (KVA) announced in a press release on June… Continue reading

Newly-elected Liard First Nation chief accuses YG of interfering with election

Stephen Charlie says YG’s announcement days before election endorsed previous chief

Most Read