Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Residents and Businesses across Newfoundland Urged to Conserve Power

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Residents and Businesses across Newfoundland Urged to Conserve Power

Article excerpt

Newfoundlanders urged to conserve power

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ST. JOHN'S, N.L. - About 90,000 Newfoundland Power customers were without electricity Sunday night after a power plant went offline in the latest power problem to hit the province in recent days.

Spokeswoman Dawn Dalley said on Twitter there was a flash in the switch yard at the Holyrood power plant, but there was no issue with the plant or the generating units, and no one was injured.

Crews were trying to determine what caused the problem, and additional resources were sent to the plant located about 50 kilometres southwest of St. John's.

The utility said while some residents reported hearing a bang, there was no explosion or fire at the plant.

Dalley said the loud noise would be normal as steam was released when two generators went offline after the switches were tripped, as a safety measure.

Some customers had been reconnected, but Dalley said until officials know the status of the plant, they won't know how many more customers can be brought back online. She added people who have their power should conserve electricity so more customers can be restored to the grid.

Meanwhile, a Newfoundland Power utility worker was injured Sunday night during power restoration efforts in St. John's.

A company spokesperson told radio station VOCM the man was in the bucket of a utility truck at the time and was taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Meanwhile, residents and businesses throughout Newfoundland and Labrador were told to conserve energy Sunday as the province entered a third day of rolling power outages -- a situation the premier said highlights the need for the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project.

Aging infrastructure, a terminal station fire and a blizzard that ripped through the province Friday night combined to overburden an already stretched electricity grid, Premier Kathy Dunderdale said.

"Everybody has a role to play in this," Dunderdale told a news conference in St. John's.

"We need to become more mindful of energy conservation and we really need to focus on that over the next few days and the next number of weeks."

She said there was "no question" the circumstances that led to the power shortage underscore the need to proceed with Muskrat Falls, a $7.7-billion development under construction in Labrador that has sparked criticism from some who fear energy rate spikes and cost overruns.

"Many of the things that we've talked about over the last four years in terms of reliable, sustainable, predictable, affordable electricity ... we're having to deal with them in the last couple of days," the Progressive Conservative premier said.

NDP Leader Lorraine Michael, who has repeatedly heaped criticism on Dunderdale's support for Muskrat Falls, said there should have been better planning in place to meet the increased energy demands. …

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