Biggest power outage since 1981 caused by frost

SaskPower is saying the power outages the province faced was caused by frost buildup that resulted in the power lines falling and sagging.

SaskPower received 33,000 calls in their Outage Centre on the morning of Dec. 4, which is equal to all the calls they received in November. With the exclusion of isolated incidents,

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the power was back on by the end of the night.

According to SaskPower in a press conference on Dec. 5, between 175,000 and 200,000 customers were impacted by the power outage.

“That would be one of the biggest outages, if not the biggest outage since 1981 when the entire province went down for some time,” said Jordan Jackle, media relations with SaskPower’s Corporate and Regulatory Affairs. “So that’s obviously is a large scale outage that really speaks to the magnitude of this.”

SaskPower said this wasn’t caused by a weakness in the infrastructure.

“I think this is a result of a really unique weather situation,” Jackle said. “Often times when you do see frost the sun comes out and burns it off. Where this time it was allowed to grow and grow and grow.”

When power is out, SaskPower warns residents to not try to remove frost from lines themselves, as they could still be active. They also warn not to use a generator unless a transfer switch is installed, as it will feed power back into the power lines creating a risk to employees working to restore power on the lines.

“We need the sun to come out and really start burning off some of the frost out there,” Jackle said. “We’re still asking everyone to avoid going near any sagging or downed power lines, assuming everyone out there is live. If you do see that call our Outage Centre, 306-310-2220.”

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