Email this articleE-mail this story  Discuss this articleWrite letter to editor  Discuss this articleOrder a classified ad
Blackout in Dettah

Community goes without power for 10 hours

Mike W. Bryant
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Dec 21/01) - Dettah residents awoke to a cold and dark Wednesday as a power outage left the community without electricity for more than 10 hours.

NNSL Photo

Kaw Tay Whee school worker Natasha Landry with Alex Martin, left, and daughter Tamara Sangris were happy to have the power back on in Dettah. Residents gathered at the school when the power went out Wednesday morning. - Mike W. Bryant/NNSL photo

According to NWT Power Corp. customer services representative Norm McBride, the power went out at 1 a.m. when a conductor on a transmission line failed near Giant Mine. McBride said blowing winds that evening were likely to blame.

"This has probably been the longest," said McBride, meaning the longest power outage in memory within the Yellowknife area.

Frame Lake South residents were also affected by the outage, but a crew was able to restore electricity there within five minutes.

Restoring power to Dettah proved more complicated because Power Corp. workers had trouble finding the downed line, said McBride. "We couldn't locate the transmission lines in the dark ... not even with spotlights." The downed conductor was finally located at 9:30 a.m. in the morning, and power was restored an hour and a half later.

Many Dettah residents were left without heat for most of the night because the majority of home furnaces in the community are equipped with electric starters.

After restoring power, Power Corp. visited the community to ensure furnaces were up and running again.

Although Kaw Tay Whee school is equipped with an emergency gas generator, classes were cancelled for the day to make room for residents who needed a warm place to spend the morning.

Natasha Landry, a casual worker at the school, said residents were in good spirits while camping out at the school despite having no power at home.

"People had breakfast here, the elders came, Power Corp came over with coffee and doughnuts," said Landry.