Getting Hammered by Lightning

Energy Supply

Jun 28, 2011  Comment

Once again yesterday there were power outages as a result of lightning. Here are the details:

There was a lightning strike on our line between Stewart Crossing and the Minto mine at 4:05 p.m. It caused an outage in Dawson, Mayo, Keno, Elsa, Stewart Crossing, and the Minto mine. There was also a brief outage at the Minto mine and Porter Creek, Crestview, and McPherson subdivisions in Whitehorse. Minto switched to their back-up diesels so they were only off a few minutes, as were the Whitehorse customers.

Power was restored to the town of Dawson within six minutes. After we got Dawson back on using the back-up diesels in the community, we decided to keep them on diesel instead of putting them back on the grid, since there was still a lot of lightning activity. It turned out to be a very good decision, because there was a second lightning strike last evening at 6:36 which would have again caused Dawson to lose power. Since they were islanded from the grid, their power was not affected. We continued to keep them on diesel overnight as a precaution. We had planned to take them off diesel this morning, but Northwestel’s phone and internet services to Dawson are down (again because of lightning strikes) and until we have communications with our staff we can’t switch Dawson City back on to the grid.

In terms of the rest of the outage area (the Hunker Creek area outside of Dawson, and the Mayo/Keno/Elsa area), power was off for a total of about 2 and a half hours. Power came back on at 6:13 p.m. but the second lightning strike caused it to go off again about 20 minutes later. Power was restored the second time at 6:56 p.m. We had the same issues with yesterday’s outage that we had on Sunday in that our Mayo diesels were not available to us and there was an issue with the express feeder to Hunker Creek. Our crews had been on their way to Dawson and Mayo to address the problems from Sunday’s outage when power went out yesterday and they had to turn around so they could help with the restoration.

Those crews plan to perform the repairs today that they had expected to do yesterday.

All communities except Dawson are back on the grid this morning.

If you have any influence at all over the weather gods, please ask them to give us a lightning free day so we can do the work we need to do on our northern system!

Again, we apologize to everyone who was affected by yesterday's outages.


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