Hydro releases PUB interim report into power outages

Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro has released the interim report it presented to the province's Public Utilities Board on Wednesday, about events surrounding the power supply disruptions and widespread power outages across Newfoundland during the past week.

Nalcor CEO Ed Martin apologizes for breakdown in electrical system

Nalcor CEO Ed Martin has apologized for hardship that people endured during blackouts of the last week. (CBC)

Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro has released the interim report it presented to the province's Public Utilities Board on Wednesday about events surrounding the power supply disruption and widespread power outages across Newfoundland over the past week. 

The report is an interim assessment of the events which happened up to Wednesday. 

The report indicates the record demand on the power grid in the weeks leading up to the January power outage, plus the reductions in power availability due to problems with several of the company's generating units. 

The report also details the conservation steps the company took before implementing rolling power outages on Jan. 2, and then the report goes through the events of the outages and restoration efforts until Jan. 8. 

A Hydro official said the company is working on a broader investigation. 

Nalcor president apologizes

Meanwhile, Ed Martin, president and CEO of Nalcor, the Crown energy corporation which is responsible for Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro, has apologized and has taken personal accountability for an energy collapse that saw hundreds of thousand of people shiver in dark, frozen homes. 

"We apologize for having it happen. We really do," Martin, head of Nalcor Energy, said in an interview with CBC's The St. John's Morning Show


"I really know how difficult it's been, for many, many people. We've been working with that in mind during every second of every day," Martin said.

Nalcor subsidiary Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro twice saw its island-wide system collapse on the weekend, including a fire at a substation in Sunnyside and then a blown breaker at the switchyard at the troubled generating plant in Holyrood, which only on Wednesday night returned to expected production levels. 

Last Thursday, Hydro and Newfoundland Power launched a series of rolling outages that affected most consumers on the island. Customers in Labrador were not affected. 

Martin said while an investigation starts into the outage, Nalcor Energy will disclose whatever is found. 

"It's my accountability. I know that," he said. 

We apologize to the people. We are going to do a full report, a full investigation. All of that will be made absolutely public, and we'll be sharing the results of that." 

Weather keeps some school closed

Meanwhile, the Newfoundland and Labrador government allowed public schools across the island to open Thursday for the first time since December, although the weather had other plans.

Rolling outages that had become an unwanted way of life across Newfoundland for most of the last week concluded on Wednesday night, allowing the government to move ahead with opening educational institutions, including Memorial University and campuses of the College of the North Atlantic. 

But stormy weather, including snow squalls that were hitting the island's west and east coasts Thursday, is nasty enough to close schools in Conception Bay, the southern Avalon Peninsula and in some west coast communities, including Rocky Harbour. Some schools were aiming to reopen in the afternoon.

In Labrador, which was not affected by the power collapse of the last week, severe wind chill kept primary students in Labrador City and Wabush out of school for at least the morning, the second day in a row that such a decision had to be made. The all-grade school in Nain, on Labrador's northern coast, was also closed for at least the morning because of poor weather conditions.

The turn in the weather will be accompanied by deeply cold temperatures in many parts of the province. That will likely put more strain on the island's troubled electrical system, which is returning to normal capacity.


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