$20M low water level fund to cover N.W.T. diesel power crisis: minister

Broken turbine at N.W.T.’s Snare Lake plant could take up to six weeks to repair

Michael Miltenberger, Minister Responsible for the Northwest Territories Power Corporation, told the legislative assembly Monday a $20 million fund meant to offset additional power costs due to low water levels in the Snare hydro system may be used to cover diesel costs due a broken turbine. (Chantal Dubuc/CBC)
Michael Miltenberger, Minister Responsible for the Northwest Territories Power Corporation, told the legislative assembly Monday a $20 million fund meant to offset additional power costs due to low water levels in the Snare hydro system may be used to cover diesel costs due a broken turbine. (Chantal Dubuc/CBC)

A $20 million fund the N.W.T. government borrowed to cover the extra cost of producing electrical power with diesel generators due to low water levels may be used to cover extra power costs this month due to a broken turbine.

The Northwest Territories Power Corporation is paying about $40,000 a day for diesel fuel to help power Yellowknife, Dettah and Behchoko after a turbine broke Feb. 15 at the Snare Falls hydroelectric plant.

It will take an estimated two to six weeks to repair the turbine depending on the availability of parts.

Michael Miltenberger, Minister Responsible for the Northwest Territories Power Corporation, told the legislative assembly Monday the $20 million fund may cover the extra cost.

“We anticipated that we would be saving some money with the lowering price of diesel and we will be using that $20 million to offset the additional diesel costs as required until the appropriate repairs are effected,” he said.

Low water levels due to drought last summer reduced the amount of power the Snare hydro system was able to produce. The territorial government stepped in to help cover the cost of the supplementary diesel power to prevent a rate rider from being added to N.W.T. Power Corporation customers’ bills.

Snare Falls is one of four generating facilities in the Snare River hydroelectric system that powers Yellowknife, Dettah and Behchoko. It has been contributing four megawatts of electricity to the system.

The Power Corporation is asking people in the three communities to conserve power especially at peak demand times such as lunch and supper hour.

CBC News

CBC News

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