New power company stepping into the fray

There's a new player in Yukon's power industry. NU-Line, a powerline company out of Thorsby, Alberta, has set up shop in Whitehorse in an area traditionally dominated by Arctic Power, a company that does pole line construction around the territory.

There’s a new player in Yukon’s power industry.

NU-Line, a powerline company out of Thorsby, Alberta, has set up shop in Whitehorse in an area traditionally dominated by Arctic Power, a company that does pole line construction around the territory.

NU-Line, which has been around since 1997, has primarily provided electricity to minesites, but is looking to branch out into other areas of power supply.

It set up shop last February, but has kept a low profile since then. NU-Line was “ill-managed” by a previous employer and wasn’t able to make much of an impact, explained Ted Hayes, safety representative and company administrator.

So NU-Line instead focused on “kidnapping” Bob Gilchrist from Independent Electric and Controls Ltd. and crowning him its new manager. Gilchrist is considered a top gun in the industry that he’s been working in for the last 15 years, said Hayes.

NU-Line is hoping Gilchrist will enable it to muscle into an industry that is providing more opportunities for small players, such as themselves.

“This is an area (NU-Line) wants to grow in, the industry is just getting that big, with infrastructure demands,” said Gilchrist.

“A competitive edge is good to give everyone else a run for their budgetary money.”

However, they are only contractors and don’t have the ability or resources to distribute power in the same way Yukon Energy Corp. and Yukon Electrical Company Ltd. now do.

They just want to bite off a chunk of the surplus work that’s already being contracted out to these players.

Working under Yukon Energy, they might be doing such things as service and maintenance throughout the territory in addition to setting up powerlines and providing diesel generation to minesites.

Offering similar services to Arctic Power means the energy companies have more choice.

“It’s a benefit for the customer,” said Gilchrist, explaining contract prices will likely go down as a result of the competition.

He points out that his old company, Independent Electric and Controls Ltd., is also considering stepping into the same market.

Given the territory’s aged power lines, there will be a great deal of service work to be done in the future, he said.

Even the Whitehorse-to-Faro line, which is relatively new, is one example of a line that will likely need upgrading and repairs in a few years.

And, with the possibility of more mines opening up in the future, such as Mactung, NU-Line is confidant it will have business.

“We plan to stay here for the long term,” said Hayes.

With only two employees in the Yukon so far (down south NU-Line has 23) the company still faces several hurdles before it can start subcontracting.

The company needs to complete the necessary paperwork to show that it’s in good standing before it can work for a company like ATCO. It also needs to hire electricians and linemen.

Gilchrist wants to complete this before the end of 2010.

Right now, they’re still not a real threat in the eyes of their competitors, Arctic Power.

“They’ve had their office in Whitehorse for a year, but they haven’t done any work yet,” said an Arctic Power administrator.

“They still don’t exist, as far as we’re concerned.”

Contact Vivian Belik at

vivianb@yukon-news.com

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

Just Posted

Maria Metzen off the start line of the Yukon Dog Mushers Association’s sled dog race on Jan. 9. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
Mushers race in preparation for FirstMate Babe Southwick

The annual race is set for Feb. 12 and 13.

The Yukon government is making changes to the medical travel system, including doubling the per diem and making destinations for medical services more flexible. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Subsidy for medical travel doubled with more supports coming

The change was recommended in the Putting People First report endorsed by the government

Chloe Sergerie, who was fined $500 under the <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> on Jan. 12, says she made the safest choice available to her when she entered the territory. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)
Woman fined $500 under CEMA says she made ‘safest decision’ available

Filling out a declaration at the airport was contrary to self-isolation, says accused

The Yukon Department of Education building in Whitehorse on Dec. 22, 2020. Advocates are calling on the Department of Education to reverse their redefinition of Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) that led to 138 students losing the program this year. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News file)
Advocates call redefinition of IEPs “hugely concerning,” call for reversal

At least 138 students were moved off the learning plans this year

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Your Northern regulatory adventure awaits!

“Your Northern adventure awaits!” blared the headline on a recent YESAB assessment… Continue reading

Yukoner Shirley Chua-Tan is taking on the role of vice-chair of the social inclusion working group with the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences’ oversight panel and working groups for the autism assessment. (Submitted)
Canadian Academy of Health Sciences names Yukoner to panel

Shirley Chua-Tan is well-known for a number of roles she plays in… Continue reading

The Fish Lake area viewed from the top of Haeckel Hill on Sept. 11, 2018. The Yukon government and Kwanlin Dün First Nation (KDFN) announced they are in the beginning stages of a local area planning process for the area. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Local area planning for Fish Lake announced

The Government of Yukon and Kwanlin Dün First Nation (KDFN) announced in… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Fire damage, photographed on Jan. 11, to a downtown apartment building which occurred late in the evening on Jan. 8. Zander Firth, 20, from Inuvik, was charged with the arson and is facing several other charges following his Jan. 12 court appearance. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
More charges for arson suspect

The Inuvik man charged in relation to the fire at Ryder Apartments… Continue reading

The grace period for the new Yukon lobbyist registry has come to an end and those who seek to influence politicians will now need to report their efforts to a public database. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)
Grace period for new lobbyist registry ends

So far nine lobbyists have registered their activities with politicians in the territory

The Government of Yukon Main Administration Building in Whitehorse on Aug. 21, 2020. Some Yukon tourism and culture non-profit organizations may be eligible to receive up to $20,000 to help recover from losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Details released on relief funding for tourism and culture non-profits

Some Yukon tourism and culture non-profit organizations may be eligible to receive… Continue reading

Most Read