Ed Martin: Rolling blackouts should be thing of the past
Nalcor president and CEO Ed Martin says he cannot guarantee that the outages that rocked much of the province in early January will not be repeated, but he's confident that the problems that triggered them are in the past.
Martin on Monday released a review of January's outages — which left most consumers in Newfoundland in the dark, many for several days — that showed how a series of unusual events contributed to power loss.
The review also found that severely cold weather and lack of backup generation coincided with Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro's problems.
"As painful as it was from a generation perspective, people should take some comfort that that's a low probability sequence of events," Martin said.
"[When] you look at Hydro's past record … I'd say that's unprecedented to have those types of things happen at one time."
Nalcor, which operates Hydro, is taking four key steps to improve reliability.
The Crown corporation is reviewing the way it maintains and operates backup gas turbines.
Nalcor is also speeding up the replacement of old breakers, some of which failed in January, to prevent more serious damage to equipment.
Third, the company is looking at the cost and benefit of having certain critical replacement parts on hand at Holyrood.
Finally, Nalcor wants to accelerate plans for additional power generation, which could mean a new gas turbine near Holyrood.
Nalcor presented its review to the Public Utilities Board, which is conducting a review into what happened in January.