The relationship between hydro and power

Published on January 14, 2014
Jeff Vincent, manager of long-term asset planning, walks past unit 2 at the Holyrood generating station recently.
— Photo by Keith Gosse/The Telegram

With the number of power outages that affected the island in the past couple of weeks, Carl Bishop figures more people are becoming aware of the relationship between Newfoundland Power and Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro.

Simply put, Bishop, Newfoundland Power’s manager for the western region, said people now understand that the two utility companies are not one in the same.

“With this latest unfortunate list of events now it’s probably more clear in most people’s minds that one crowd supplies it and the other delivers it,” said Bishop.

Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro is the supplier and Newfoundland Power is the deliverer. Hydro also acts as both supplier and deliverer in some areas of the province, such as the Northern Peninsula.

To further explain the relationship, Dawn Dalley, vice-president of corporate relations with Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro, said “if there’s a supply issue on the generation side or a big transmission then it’s related to us, but if it’s a distribution outage, for example a pole outside your building catches fire, it’s a distribution level which is a Newfoundland Power issue.”

A power outage that affected parts of Corner Brook Friday evening, along with another outage that occurred on Sunday, were both due to issues on the generation side when a unit tripped at Hydro’s Holyrood generating station.

“They trip to protect themselves,” said Dalley.

What happens then is the utilities have to remove customers off the system.

“The reason it affects your area is because of the way Newfoundland Power takes off load to meet our demand,” said Dalley.

In contrast, a blip experienced in the city Monday morning was due to a localized Newfoundland Power issue.

“There was a reclose, just a temporary bump, on one of our Walbourne lines that we had trouble with over the weekend,” said Bishop.

He said the way the lines are engineered is that they will try to operate, to turn back on on their own.

“If it’s a fault, where like there’s a wire down or something we need to deal with, it will trip out after three attempts.”

Bishop said in this case Newfoundland Power had trouble locating the source of the problem. He said crews were able to find it Monday morning in a wooded area off the roadway that had to be accessed on foot.

Bishop said a guy wire had become a bit slack and the wires were close enough that they could touch at times and cause momentary trips.

The problem was corrected before lunch.

The Western Star