Power restored to Prince Albert; rolling blackouts expected through Thursday

Braden Dupuis
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After 24 hours in the dark, citizens of Prince Albert awoke on Wednesday to find that power had been restored to the city.


After 24 hours in the dark, citizens of Prince Albert awoke on Wednesday to find that power had been restored to the city.

SaskPower crews worked long, hard hours in difficult conditions on Tuesday to repair the damage caused by Monday night’s storm.

“We consider this move right now a temporary solution,” said Mike Marsh, vice president of transmission and distribution for SaskPower.

“We just want to caution people that we may be into a period where we have to do some rotating outage in order to maintain stability in that area, so just a caution that some communities in and around the Prince Albert area may experience outages for some period of time.

“We will continue to monitor the situation and try to maintain as stable a situation as we can.”

A SaskPower press release on Wednesday afternoon said that "customers should be prepared for rotating outages lasting 4-6 hours in the City of Prince Albert, La Ronge, Shellbrook, Debden and Big River starting (Wednesday) afternoon. Customers are advised to keep adequate supplies of food and water on hand."

The temporary power-fix involved re-directing the power’s route into the city.

“Basically what we’ve done is we’ve re-routed power from one of our major switching stations through an alternate feed into the south side of Prince Albert,” Marsh said.

“We’ve brought power in by making significant changes to the system … there’s a lot of technical issues that had to be addressed before we could do this, and those were addressed (Tuesday).”

While residents of the city enjoy their renewed electricity, SaskPower crews remained hard at work repairing the damage that caused the blackout in the first place.

“Work continues on repairing the damage to the transmission line east of Prince Albert,” Marsh said, adding that SaskPower expects to have the bypass line completed and power fully restored by Thursday afternoon.

While Prince Albert, La Ronge, Meadow Lake, North Battleford and others all had power for much of Wednesday, southern parts of the province found themselves without following another stormy night on Tuesday.

Heavy rains and strong winds are making repairs difficult for SaskPower crews.

“Some of the areas that were most heavily damaged are also very flooded and very, very wet,” Marsh said.

“So we’re moving specialized equipment into those areas, tracked equipment, and we’re doing our best to get to the scenes where we have to do the repair.

”While crews work on fixing the damage, SaskPower asks people to “make sure that they shut their light switches off, power down any equipment that they don’t need and try to keep the load as low as possible,” Marsh said.

Another concern is the improper use of generators, which can be a safety hazard for crews trying to restore power.

“We’d really like to make people aware that if you’re going to use a generator it must be installed correctly by a qualified electrician, it must be used in a properly ventilated space, and we want to make very sure that the installation of these devices is done appropriately,” Marsh said.


Organizations: Prince Albert, SaskPower

Geographic location: La Ronge, Prince Albert, Debden Big River Meadow Lake North Battleford

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