Utilities regulator takes action after seeing numbers in Hydro reports
Power users connected to the island of Newfoundland’s main power grid are being asked to conserve energy by both Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro and Newfoundland Power.
Telegram file photo
The flow of information today has been different than the day rolling blackouts started on the island in early January. This time around, the first statements on a potential problem reached Newfoundland Power through the Public Utilities Board (PUB), instead of through Hydro.
“Newfoundland Power received communication from the Public Utilities Board (PUB), and I believe it was late morning,” said Karen McCarthy, manager of communications with Newfoundland Power, in an interview shortly after 3 p.m.
She said she would have to check emails to confirm the exact time the news reached Newfoundland Power.
The PUB has been monitoring the status of the island power system on a daily basis since launching an investigation into rolling blackouts and unplanned outages in January.
McCarthy pointed to the PUB’s monitoring when asked why Newfoundland Power was first notified by the regulator.
“Possibly because Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro has been providing daily updates, I think you can see them on the PUB’s website, on the status of generation availability and so forth on the system. So I would assume that’s why and we received a call from the PUB to make us aware,” she said.
“They would have made us aware that Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro was anticipating perhaps as much as only a five per cent differential on the system tomorrow, a five per cent margin as we call it, of availability on the system that is that small it’s prudent for both utilities then to work with customers, whether they be residential or business and look to conserve.”
Prior to now, those notifications have gone directly from Hydro to Newfoundland Power.
“It’s definitely a change for the Public Utilities Board to have been in touch with us today to make us aware, yes,” McCarthy said, when asked about the flow of information.
That said, Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro staff have been in direct contact with Newfoundland Power since about the current state of the system and the two utilities planned for the issuance of press releases, for public notification, this afternoon.
Those notices are asking for energy conservation wherever possible over the next three days as the so-called island interconnected system — the island’s main power grid — faces tight supply with expected high power demand.