UPDATE: Holyrood generating no power

Published on January 4, 2014
Much of the island-portion of Newfoundland and Labrador is without power Saturday morning due to a massive outage caused by winter weather.
— Screengrab from Newfoundland Power website

There is now no power being generated in Holyrood, causing a widespread outage in Newfoundland and Labrador.

That's according to Minister of Municipal Affairs Steve Kent, who made a post to Twitter shortly before 10 p.m.

"No power being generated at Holyrood," he wrote. "Widespread outage."

Reports from Twitter shortly before 10 p.m. indicated there was a bright flash of light that briefly emanated from the Holyrood site prior to the outage.

Almost 30 minutes later, it said 100,000 customers had lost power.

As of 6 p.m. Sunday, there were reportedly 20,000 Newfoundland Power customers left without power. The outage started Saturday morning following a transformer fire at the Sunnyside terminal station.

Shortly before the latest outage, Newfoundland Power said on Twitter that there would be no more rotating outages Sunday night.


(Earlier story)

There are 20,000 Newfoundland Power customers still without power as of early Sunday evening.

That figure was down slightly from the 35,000 customers with no power as of noon Sunday.

More than half of the electric utility company's 257,000 customers were initial impacted by the outage when it started Saturday morning because of a fire at the Sunnyside terminal Station.

Newfoundland Power has since been reconnecting feeders to the electric grid. Work to restore power is expected to continue until at least Tuesday.

According to Newfoundland Power's website, those outages are restricted to the Avalon and Burin Peninsulas.

Rotating power outages were still in effect Sunday.


(Earlier story)

Substantial progress was made overnight Saturday restoring power to households impacted by a massive outage this weekend.

As of early Sunday morning, Newfoundland Power reported by Twitter that 25,000 customers were left without power on the island. That was down dramatically from the 140,000 powerless customers early Saturday evening.

Sixty-minute rotating outages commenced this morning. Newfoundland Power said this was necessary to help manage the electricity system. It also stressed the continued need to conserve energy.

Speaking with reporters yesterday, Newfoundland Power vice-president of engineering Gary Smith said crews from Prince Edward Island would arrive in Newfoundland on Sunday and begin work Monday to help replace blown fuses on power lines.

Newfoundland Power and Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro held two media briefings on Saturday. No briefings were scheduled for Sunday morning.


(Earlier story)

Newfoundland Power expects work to sort out the aftermath of a massive power outage will go beyond this weekend and continue into Monday and possibly even Tuesday.

That was according to Newfoundland Power vice-president of engineering Gary Smith, who spoke during an early-evening news conference Saturday in St. John's.

Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro vice-president of engineering services John MacIssac said a second trip to the power grid took place that afternoon. Smith referred to that incident as a setback.

As of 6 p.m., approximately 140,000 Newfoundland Power customers did not have power, compared to 125,000 as of 1 p.m. When the first outage took place following a transformer fire at the Sunnyside terminal station, over 190,000 of the electric utility company's 257,000 customers had no power.

When asked if the fire was still burning, MacIssac would only say the situation was under control and isolated.

Smith said more people will continue to regain power overnight and into Sunday. The biggest issue for crews has been accessing areas where fuses need to be replaced as feeders get reconnected. Newfoundland Power staff are currently working on 16 hour shifts.

As home get reconnected, Smith said it is essential for energy consumers to conserve where possible, as so many homes getting reconnected at the same time creates a strain on the system that leads to blown fuse. Earlier in the day, he said that Newfoundland Power technicians expect to replace thousands of fuses.

Workers from Prince Edward Island are due to arrive on Monday. Smith said contractors are also expected to assist Newfoundland Power's efforts beginning that day.

Fire and Emergency Services director Dave McCormack said that while it was within the authority of the Municipal Affairs Minister to declare a state of emergency, taking such a measure has not been recommended. He said his agency has consulted with communities when asked and made note of some taking a proactive approach in setting up warming sites for residents living in cool conditions.


(Earlier story)

Officials with Newfoundland Power and Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro say progress is being made in efforts to restore power to those impacted by a massive outage on Saturday, but some will have to wait longer than others.

Speaking with reporters Saturday afternoon, Hydro vice-president of engineering services John MacIsaac said the majority of Newfoundland Power customers impacted by the transformer fire at the Sunnyside terminal station should have power back within the next 24 hours.

Newfoundland Power vice-president of engineering Gary Smith said it would be premature to assume there will not be more work to do on Sunday.

The massive outage started shortly after 9 a.m. Saturday following a substantial winter storm. St. John's experienced the most snowfall at 38 centimetres, and many areas experienced strong winds exceeding 100 kilometres per hours.

Over 190,000 Newfoundland Power customers were initially impacted by the outage. The electric utility company serves 257,000 customers across the province. By 1 p.m., that figure was down to 125,000. The majority of those customers are located on the Avalon, Bonavista and Burin peninsulas.

MacIsaac said the fire was under control and that volunteer firefighters from Sunnyside were at the scene on standby. There were no injuries.

The transformer fire caused a loss of power to the grid. Newfoundland Power is now gradually reconnecting to the grid. 

Smith said this process can take time because when every feeder is reconnected, it must deal with an immediate massive demand for energy with so many heaters and electric devices suddenly making use of power. This cause blown fuses. 

Smith expects Newfoundland Power employees with have a replace thousands of fuses as a result. He said all available resources have been  deployed, adding that the company has also reached out to contractors.

To help with the situation, he encourage people to anticipate the need to conserve energy before power is restored by turning down thermostats and switching off breakers that do not need to be used.

MacIsaac said Hydro had its resource ready to respond to any issues that could crop up due to the storm. He said this contributed to a quick response time with respect to the equipment failure in Sunnyside.

Fire and Emergency Services NL CEO Sean Dutton encouraged municipalities and local service districts to review their emergency plans in light of the power outage. He suggested they may consider opening warming centres to help residents cope with the cold. The agency had not received any requests for help as of mid-afternoon Saturday.


(Earlier story)

A transformer fire at Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro's Sunnyside terminal station has been linked to a widespread power outage impacting most of Newfoundland.

According to Hydro's official Twitter account, some customers have since had their power restored, but others will have to wait several hours for that to happen.

Hydro said the Holyrood generating plant tripped due to the loss of power to the grid and that it could take several hours to restart.

A spokeswoman for Newfoundland Power has told The Telegram by email that the outage is impacting approximately half of its customers — 125,000 in all.


(Earlier story)

Crews with Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro are now in Sunnyside attempting to determine why most of Newfoundland is without power Saturday morning.

According to the provincial Crown corporation's Twitter account, crews are investigating a “potential equipment issue” at the Sunnyside station.

Earlier Saturday, Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro confirmed the outages were not related to rotating outages that have been ongoing for the last few days because of increased demand on the power supply. It said severe weather was the most probable cause of the outages.

The power outages stretch across Newfoundland from St. John's to Port aux Basques. It does not includes the Northern Peninsula.


(Earlier Story)

Those who were fed up with rotating power outages resulting from unseasonably high demand on the province's power supply have a new problem to deal with, as a massive unscheduled outage has left much of Newfoundland without power.

According to Newfoundland Power's website, the outage effects almost the entire island-portion of the province, excluding the Northern Peninsula, an area that Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro serves. No estimate has been provided for power restoration.

On its official Twitter account, the electric utility company initially reported outages on Bell Island resulting from a winter storm that dumped almost 40 centimetres of snow on the area. It said crews were being dispatched to Bell Island to investigate.

Shortly thereafter, the outage spread. Newfoundland Power's website reports outages on the Avalon, Burin and Bonavista peninsulas, the Clarenville area, Central Newfoundland, areas in the vicinity of Corner Brook and Deer Lake and those near Stephenville and Port aux Basques.

“Please be advised, current outages taking place across the island are resulting from severe weather, not because of rotating outages,” said Newfoundland Power through its Twitter account.

Newfoundland was recently subjected to rotating outages because unseasonably cold temperatures was placing a strain on the island's power supply. NL Hydro was asking people with power to conserve energy as much as possible.

More information will be provided on this story as it becomes available.