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City goes dark three times in one day

Myles Dolphin
Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Yellowknife and surrounding communities were hit with several power outages on Tuesday, forcing city businesses to find ways to cope with the interruptions.

The first outage around 8:45 a.m. as people were heading to work.

The disruption lasted less than 20 minutes, thanks to NWT Power Corporation workers who arrived quickly on scene, according to Robert Schmidt, director of hydro operations.

While the cause for the outage remains unknown, an over-current on the Bluefish line, which links Yellowknife to the Bluefish Hydroelectric Facility, might be the culprit.

"We suspect it may have been lightning," Schmidt said.

Residents of Dettah were left without power for a longer period but Schmidt said everything was back to normal by 10 a.m.

Another short outage took place around noon, before coming back on briefly and then shutting down again until just after 1:30 p.m.

Frustration spilled onto the streets as workers congregated on sidewalks and makeshift benches, and some businesses dealt with the outages better than others.

Servers at Le Frolic had already taken several orders when the lunch-time disruption took place, throwing a wrench in their routine.

Customers were snacking on bread and some kept an eye on the time, wondering how much of their lunch hour would be wasted.

Fortunately, the cooks upstairs already had a head-start and their equipment had warmed up sufficiently to prepare the orders by the time the power went out.

"Our charbroiler, salamander and star burners all run on gas and the ovens were already hot," said cook Matt Stark.

"The only snag we hit was with the coolers, which we couldn't open for very long and I had to get the dishwasher to hold my phone up as a flashlight so I could see what I was doing."

Outside the CIBC on Franklin Avenue, where most work is done on computers, employees were chatting outside the building.

"We can't process anything," said Ben Shaver, a CIBC employee. His colleague Taylor Stanton didn't seem to be too worried with the disruption, joking about how long it would take before they would be sent home. "All we can do is enjoy the sun," he said. "After two hours I think they have to let us go," he said with a smile.

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