Ask Janet: Why So Many Outages?

Energy Supply, Reliability, Safety

Sep 12, 2017  Comment

Today's question: Why have there been so many power outages lately? Don't you maintain your equipment?

Thanks for the question. Let me start by saying that we don't like power outages any more than you do. We know they are both costly and frustrating to Yukoners, as they are to us. We are sorry about the number of blackouts you have experienced lately.

Outages happen for a number of reasons. Sometimes they are caused by Mother Nature ... high winds for example, or lightning or heavy snow on the line.

Other times they are a result of aging infrastructure. If you own a home or vehicle, you will know that as these assets get older more money has to go into keeping them in good shape. Unfortunately, that is one of the reasons we felt it was necessary to ask for a rate increase recently. Yukon Energy spends $6- to $7-million a year on maintaining our assets. That's about a third of our budget. However despite best efforts, equipment can break.

No matter the cause, because Yukon is isolated from the North American transmission grid, system events have a larger impact on our territory's grid. The good thing is that because of our thermal backup, our outages are shorter than they are in many other locations. In Southern Canada an outage can last for several days. In 2016 our average outage time was 24 minutes.

I offer this information not as an excuse for the recent outages, but to help you understand the issues we face. 


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