Yukon Energy slows down time

A malfunctioning clock at the Yukon Energy Corporation ended up costing everyone else 15 minutes last weekend. The utility uses what's called a line clock to regulate the frequency of its power.

A malfunctioning clock at the Yukon Energy Corporation ended up costing everyone else 15 minutes last weekend.

The utility uses what’s called a line clock to regulate the frequency of its power. Control operators compare the clock to the frequency of the electrical current on the grid to make sure it stays around 60 hertz as load changes over the day.

But over the last several days, the line clock began running a little fast, said Yukon Energy spokesperson Janet Patterson.

That indicated to the control operators that they had to slow down the frequency from 60 cycles a minute to around 59.92 cycles.

But even that small change was enough to slow down any clock plugged into an outlet, said Patterson.

Yukoners lost five seconds per hour over the weekend.

By Sunday night, many clocks were 15 minutes slow.

“We will be replacing the clock and repairing the old one for backup,” said Patterson. “They will likely be run in parallel, for comparison and to ensure this problem does not occur again.”

The change in frequency, which is standardized at 60 hertz in North America, should not have affected any electronics, she said. (James Munson)

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