With power out in Tulita, N.W.T., Chief Albert Wright school opens doors to community

A photo of Tulita, taken early on a summer morning in 2021. (Anna Desmarais/CBC - image credit)
A photo of Tulita, taken early on a summer morning in 2021. (Anna Desmarais/CBC - image credit)

The community of Tulita, N.W.T., has been without power for the past 17 hours.

The Northwest Territories Power Corporation (NTPC) said in a Facebook post that the outage began around 9 p.m. on Saturday evening "due to a generation issue."

Doug Prendergast, a spokesperson for NTPC, later confirmed to CBC News that a cable fault within the system was to blame.

There have seemingly been several obstacles in fixing the problem.

After some troubleshooting by the local plant operator when the power initially failed, Prendergast said it became clear that additional support was needed. However, the company was unable to charter a flight until Sunday morning.

When extra help eventually did make it, crews then found the parts required to fix the cable fault weren't available within the community and would need to be flown in.

Prendergast said the parts have since been delivered, and that "hopefully … that repair won't take too long."

He said NTPC is aiming to have power restored sometime on Sunday afternoon.

School offering access to washrooms, water

As the outage means no running water, the hamlet has opened up the Chief Albert Wright School — set with a back-up generator — for people to use the washrooms and fill water jugs.

Angela Bernarde works at the local band office and serves as a hamlet councillor. She said residents have made tea and coffee at the school, while others cook on stoves outside.

"It's just our safe space, I guess," she said.

Though a challenge to be without power for so long, Bernarde said the community remains in generally good spirits at the moment.

"Everybody is doing OK, we all came together," she said.

"We're lucky that it's happening now and not in the winter."