Taking down the line
Frost problem solved, lightning prevention options being considered

Richard Gleeson
Northern News Services

NNSL (Feb 01/99) - Chances of Jack Frost nipping at the power supply coming from the Snare Lakes hydro system were all but eliminated earlier this month.

Warmer winter weather earlier this year created big frost problems for the NWT Power Corporation and its customers in Rae-Edzo, Dettah and Yellowknife.

In December, frost up to six inches thick weighed down what's known as the sky line, bringing it into contact with the lines carrying the power and shorting out the system.

The sky line runs above the power lines, providing protection from lightning.

Late last month, linemen Steve Lantz, Sean Woon and Aaron Martin camped out at the line. At four in the morning, with diesel back-up powering the towns and power demand at its lowest, they went out and switched the power over to the old line, now used as a back-up.

With the main power line dead, crews travelled by helicopter to the scene at first light the next day and were free to work safely to remove 12 kilometres of the sky line in the section that suffered the worst frosting.

In December eight kilometres of sky line were removed.

So what's the power corporation going to about lightning protection along the 20 kilometres without it?

"We're still looking at our options," said regional director of operations Dan Roberts. He said a few corporation engineers were at a conference in Edmonton last week looking at what lightning prevention measures are taken in other jurisdictions.