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The IWK Health Centre services women, children, youth and families in the Maritimes. (CBC)

The IWK Health Centre in Halifax is getting a new generator to replace one that failed three times and postponed dozens of surgeries over the last year.

The news was unveiled in the Nova Scotia provincial budget late last week.

The unreliable generator meant surgeries had to be postponed on three different occasions during a seven-month span and clinics at the children’s hospital were interrupted.

Some operations were even underway when an outage hit.

But Allan Horsburgh, the hospital's chief financial officer, said patient safety was never at risk because another backup power supply kicked in.

"One of the switches didn't switch over when it should have, and a piece broke on another incident which again the teams were on top of. No harm came to any patients. But again, it does need to be replaced."

The generator is approximately 40 years old and about the size of a bus.

Horsburgh says changing it out will be a big operation.

"It's a very big piece of equipment so it takes some renovations, some timing because it's hooked up to some other switches and wiring and everything else so it's a very technical sequencing," he said.

The cost of replacing it is still unknown.

Installing the new generator and completing renovations will take months. The start date still has to be decided, but the work is expected to done within a year.