Power problems for Keno City

The small community of Keno City in central Yukon has had a rough start to the new year, at least where electricity is concerned. The problems began on New Year’s Day and continue to plague residents.

The small community of Keno City in central Yukon has had a rough start to the new year, at least where electricity is concerned.

The problems began on New Year’s Day and continue to plague residents.

There were sporadic outages on Jan. 1, most lasting around seven to 20 minutes. Then around 11 p.m. the power went out and wasn’t restored until 10 a.m. the next day.

The power was off even longer for some Keno residents, like Insa Schultenkotter, who didn’t get it back until noon.

The Yukon Energy Corporation, which is responsible for the transmission line to Keno, said the outage was probably caused by heavy snow clinging to the lines.

However, it’s not exactly sure where the problem might be.

The Yukon Electrical Company, which is responsible for distributing the power to Keno, restored power in the area by bringing in a diesel generator from Whitehorse, but that generator stopped working and power went out again at 10 p.m. on Monday.

Schultenkotter was out shoveling snow when the power went off again on Monday. She described hearing a big bang “like a gun shot.”

Yukon Electrical Company spokesperson Laura Carlson said the problem was a mechanical failure.

Yukon Energy sent its own generator to help the ailing community, but it wasn’t needed. At least, not at first.

Power was restored to the grid around 3:45 on Tuesday.

This morning, after another night of heavy snow, the power went out again.

At 9 a.m., two hours later, power was restored to the community, using the Yukon Energy diesel generator.

The community was still being powered by this generator as of Wednesday noon.

“We appreciate the workers coming out at night at these temperatures trying to fix the problem,” said Schultenkotter.

“However, we are not impressed with the kind of ‘emergency plan’ Yukon Electrical Company has for Keno.”

There’s no back-up generator in nearby Mayo or Dawson, she pointed out.

“Not having a backup within reach of our community and having to bring one from Whitehorse in the middle of the night doesn’t make much sense,” she said. “Particularly if this generator appears to be malfunctioning.”

When the second generator was up and running this morning, Schultenkotter’s surge protector started beeping, indicating that the house was not quite receiving the steady power necessarily to run a computer safely.

A Yukon Energy crew is using a helicopter to fly the line for a second time today to try to find the problem.

“This time we will put what are known as fault detectors on sections of the line,” said spokesperson Janet Patterson.

“They will help us troubleshoot and hopefully pinpoint the problem.”

There are a few people in town who are heating with electricity. It’s costly, difficult and dangerous to be without power for such a long time in January, said Schultenkotter.

The Bellekino mine, which normally operates around the clock, was out of power for 36 hours.

The mine has a number of its own back-up generators, but these are only intended to keep critical equipment running, are not enough to return to full production.

The power came back online yesterday afternoon, but went out again early this morning.

The mine continues to be without power, but hopes it’ll be back up and running by the end of the day.

“It’s not lost production forever, it’s what I would call deferred production,” said Brad Thrall, the Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer of Alexco.

“It’s tones of ore that we will mine and mill in the future, but it is lost revenue that we could be making today.”

The Bellekino mine produces over 200,000 ounces of silver per month, he said.

“So everyday that goes by that you’re not producing at those levels… it does have a short-term impact and it will take us some time to catch up again.”

Alexco cancelled its night shift at the mine two nights in a row.

But otherwise its been keeping its workers busy with maintenance and other projects.

Contact Chris Oke at chriso@yukon-news.com

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

Just Posted

Willow Brewster, a paramedic helping in the COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre, holds a swab used for the COVID-19 test moments before conducting a test with it on Nov. 24. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
An inside look at the COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre

As the active COVID-19 case count grew last week, so too did… Continue reading

Conservation officers search for a black bear in the Riverdale area in Whitehorse on Sept. 17. The Department of Environment intends to purchase 20 semi-automatic AR-10 rifles, despite the inclusion of the weapons in a recently released ban introduced by the federal government, for peace officers, such as conservation officers. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Environment Minister defends purchase of AR-10 rifles for conservation officers

The federal list of banned firearms includes an exception for peace officers

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: The K-shaped economic recovery and what Yukoners can do about it

It looks like COVID-19 will play the role of Grinch this holiday… Continue reading

Jodie Gibson has been named the 2020 Prospector of the Year by the Yukon Prospectors Association. (Submitted)
Jodie Gibson named 2020 Prospector of the Year

Annual award handed out by the Yukon Prospector’s Association

A number 55 is lit in honour of Travis Adams, who died earlier this year, at the Winter Wonderland Walk at Meadow Lakes Golf Club in Whitehorse on Nov. 24. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
A new take on holiday traditions

Winter Wonderland Walk, virtual Stories with Santa all part of 2020 festive events in Whitehorse

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

Colin McDowell, the director of land management for the Yukon government, pulls lottery tickets at random during a Whistle Bend property lottery in Whitehorse on Sept. 9, 2019. A large amount of lots are becoming available via lottery in Whistle Bend as the neighbourhood enters phase five of development. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Lottery for more than 250 new Whistle Bend lots planned for January 2021

Eight commercial lots are being tendered in additional to residential plots

The Government of Yukon Main Administration Building in Whitehorse on Aug. 21. The Canada Border Services Agency announced Nov. 26 that they have laid charges against six people, including one Government of Yukon employee, connected to immigration fraud that involved forged Yukon government documents. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Charges laid in immigration fraud scheme, warrant out for former Yukon government employee

Permanent residency applications were submitted with fake Yukon government documents

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

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Karen Wenkebach has been appointed as a judge for the Yukon Supreme Court. (Yukon News file)
New justice appointed

Karen Wenckebach has been appointed as a judge for the Supreme Court… Continue reading

Catherine Constable, the city’s manager of legislative services, speaks at a council and senior management (CASM) meeting about CASM policy in Whitehorse on June 13, 2019. Constable highlighted research showing many municipalities require a lengthy notice period before a delegate can be added to the agenda of a council meeting. Under the current Whitehorse procedures bylaw, residents wanting to register as delegates are asked to do so by 11 a.m. on the Friday ahead of the council meeting. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Changes continue to be contemplated for procedures bylaw

Registration deadline may be altered for delegates

Cody Pederson of the CA Storm walks around LJ’s Sabres player Clay Plume during the ‘A’ division final of the 2019 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament. The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28 in Whitehorse next year, was officially cancelled on Nov. 24 in a press release from organizers. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News file)
2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament cancelled

The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28… Continue reading

Lev Dolgachov/123rf
The Yukon’s Information and Privacy Commissioner stressed the need to safeguard personal information while shopping this holiday season in a press release on Nov. 24.
Information and Privacy Commissioner issues reminder about shopping

The Yukon’s Information and Privacy Commissioner Diane McLeod-McKay stressed the need to… Continue reading

Most Read