Faulty equipment, near -40 C temperatures cause hours-long power outage in Fort McPherson

·1 min read
The hamlet office in Fort McPherson in 2016. The community was without power for hours, starting Sunday night, as temperatures hit -39 C.  (David Thurton/CBC - image credit)
The hamlet office in Fort McPherson in 2016. The community was without power for hours, starting Sunday night, as temperatures hit -39 C. (David Thurton/CBC - image credit)

Residents of Fort McPherson, N.W.T. were without power for several hours Sunday night as temperatures approached - 40 C, because of faulty equipment and cold weather.

Deputy Mayor Ruby McDonald said the power went out in the hamlet around 10 p.m.

The cold weather meant the situation could've been dangerous, but McDonald said the community made sure everyone had what they needed.

"Everybody watches out for everyone," she said of Fort McPherson residents.

Doug Prendergast, spokesperson for the Northwest Territories Power Corporation (NTPC), said in an email there were several issues that resulted in the lengthy outage.

First, there was a problem with a generator in the community — an oil plug issue that resulted in the loss of all oil in the generator.

Prendergast said the situation was made worse because one of the other generators at the plant couldn't be brought online due to a mechanical failure, and the extreme cold prevented the emergency units from being turned on.

An NTPC crew from Inuvik arrived in Fort McPherson around 1:30 a.m. to help troubleshoot and restore electricity, said Prendergast. The crew restored partial power around 1:30 a.m., and scheduled rotating outages "to help minimize the impact on customers and equipment" until 4 a.m. when full power was restored.

Prendergast said the crew remained on site Monday to make sure the community's power supply was functioning properly.

Temperatures reached -39 C in Fort McPherson early Monday morning, and felt as cold as -48 with windchill, according to Environment and Climate Change Canada.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting