Northwestern Canada: 2,000 people spend hours without power in blistering-cold morning

About 2,000 people lost power during a blistering-cold morning in Whitehorse, Yukon. (Luc Garceau)
About 150 people who live north of Whitehorse have been waiting eight hours for power after an outage on the coldest day of the season so far.

The outage occurred at 3:30 a.m. and affected approximately 2,000 people in the Crestview, Northland, Takhini trailer park and Whistle Bend in Whitehorse. It continued in Ibex Valley and north of the city to Lake Laberge.

Jay Massie with ATCO Electric Yukon hoped to have everybody back online by 9:30 a.m., meaning the outage will have lasted six hours for some.

The high today in Whitehorse is –35 C, according to Environment Canada.

Stephanie Muckenheim’s power came back at around 11:10 a.m. She lives north of the city.

Stephanie Muckenheim says she has a propane stove, so she was able to make coffee this morning. (Submitted by Stephanie Muckenheim)

“Luckily I had filled up the kettle with water and I have a propane stove so I can make coffee,” she said. “[I’m] boiling it on the stove. Note to self: buy a percolator … and more batteries.”

Jay Massie with ATCO Electric Yukon said earlier this morning he’d hoped to have everybody back online by 9:30 a.m.

Power is being restored gradually.

“We have to do it in small chunks,” he said. “It’s been off since 3:30 a.m. It’s really cold. So there’s going to be a lot of load that’s involved. So we have to do a very stepped process to get everything back on in a stabilized manner.”

There are around a dozen people working to get power back up. In a subsequent interview, Massie said he didn’t have an estimate on when the restoration would be complete.

According to the latest information provided to CBC, residents at Vista Road and the Grizzly Valley area are still without power.

Massie said crews have repaired a broken wire on one of the main lines near the Mayo Road. He said he’s not sure why it broke in the first place.

“We’re going to bring the wire that broke in and have a look at it,” said Massie. “See if it was a manufacturing defect or something like that.”

An outage hit Haines Junction, west of Whitehorse, on Sunday night, affecting about 500 people for a few hours. Some elders were moved to a warm spot during that outage. There’s no word on what caused it.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Arctic Canadian town learns lessons from Alaskan wind farm, CBC News

Finland: Finland’s power prices dropped as wind turbines were fed by winter storm, Yle News

Russia: Energy shift coming closer in Arctic Russia, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: Strong winds roar across central Sweden, Radio Sweden

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