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Power outage hurts businesses

Peter Crnogorac
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Dec 22/06) - A power outage on Wednesday that lasted up to 45 minutes across half of the city, cost businesses thousands in lost sales, according to some managers and owners in the downtown core.

Jerome Babyn, manager for Northland Utilities, said the outage that occurred at about 11:55 a.m. on Wednesday and lasted until 12:45 p.m. for some, was caused by a fault to one of the two main feeders that sends power to all areas of the city.

"It affected about half of the city," said Babyn.

The areas affected by the outage included downtown, Old Town and Niven Lake.

Babyn said that the Town One feeder has 10 individual power sources hooked on to it. Each had to be separately turned back on.

"Some people got their power back in minutes," said Babyn. "Others had to wait a maximum of 45 minutes."

For most area businesses, power equals money.

"It cost us about $4,000 in lost sales," said Justine Foote, manager of The Source at Centre Square Mall.

She said the power was off in the store for about 45 minutes.

Jason Walpole, general manager of Boston Pizza, said that during the lunch hour they will put through 50-70 bills when the power is working.

"Some people waited it out," he said, adding that the power was down in the restaurant for about 30 minutes. "But at least three tables got up and left."

Walpole said the all-too-common power outages must be dealt with.

"Why is this still happening," he asked. "Aren't taxes supposed to go to this type of thing?"

Aaron Hernandez, manager of CD Plus in Centre Square Mall, said that noon hour is the store's busiest time of day. "We're pretty disappointed," he said. "We probably lost about $1,000 in sales over the 25 minutes the power was out."