Rain, a blessing and a curse

This summer's excessive rain has been a double-edged sword for Yukon Energy. The reservoir at the Aishihik hydro plant is full to the brim.

This summer’s excessive rain has been a double-edged sword for Yukon Energy.

The reservoir at the Aishihik hydro plant is full to the brim.

That means that Yukon Energy is now generating a lot of electricity, but it has also led to flooding in the area.

Aishihik Road was flooded out for 13 days this August.

It remained passable, but it did raise concerns for Yukon Energy.

“There was a period where we thought maybe we’d have to rent a helicopter, but in the end we didn’t have to,” said Janet Patterson, supervisor of communications for Yukon Energy.

Levels got so high in the reservoir that Yukon Energy had to spill some water.

“Above a certain level we are legally obligated to spill water,” said Patterson. “It did go above that level, so we had to.”

While it may have contributed to the flooding, Patterson said it wasn’t the only factor.

Now that water levels are back down to a more manageable level, Yukon Energy can focus on generating electricity, said Patterson.

“Instead of spilling that water, we think it’s better to make the most efficient use of that water and that is to provide our Secondary Sales Program,” she said.

The Secondary Sales Program lets select Yukon businesses heat their buildings using hydro power.

The cost of the power is pegged at two-thirds that of diesel fuel, so business can save some money.

It started last Friday and will likely run until October, depending on where the water level is, said Patterson.

“As long as we have the excess water, we can continue to offer it,” she said.