Loose wire blamed for power outage

A loose connection is to blame for taking down Whitehorse’s largest hydro generator Friday.

A loose connection is to blame for taking down Whitehorse’s largest hydro generator Friday.

Unit #4 at Whitehorse’s dam went down around 2 a.m. knocking out power to almost the entire territory with the exception of Mayo.

Most people had their lights back on by around 6 a.m. after Yukon Energy switched part of its supply over to diesel and LNG.

Spokesperson Janet Patterson said technicians examined the downed hydro generator and uncovered a loose connection in the unit’s governor.

In simple terms, the governor regulates how much power comes out of the unit, Patterson said.

By about 2 p.m. the system was fixed and the hydro unit was back up and running.

In the interim, the territory used a total of 41,000 litres worth of diesel and liquified natural gas. The utility used one of Whitehorse’s two LNG-fired generators.

“We didn’t have to bring on the other one, but we would have,” Patterson said.

“If we had gotten in there and it looked like this was going to be a much longer outage, then definitely we would have been using both of our LNG units but we didn’t need to.”

Less diesel and LNG might have been required if the Aishihik power plant had been up and running. But the plant was not available to help power the territory because it was having its elevator repaired.

Whitehorse’s unit #4 is the biggest in the city. When the 20 megawatt unit came online in 1985 it doubled the dam’s capacity.

Contact Ashley Joannou at


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