Nfld. & Labrador

Conserve power to avoid rolling blackouts, warns Hydro

NL Hydro is asking customers in Newfoundland to conserve electricity over the next three days because it's forecasting high demand on the island.
Some neighbourhoods were temporarily plunged into darkness in January, as Newfoundland Power used rolling blackouts to deal with extreme cold. (CBC )

NL Hydro is asking customers in Newfoundland to conserve electricity over the next three days after forecasting very high demand on the island, which could even lead to rolling blackouts.

According to a news release, peak loads due to cold temperatures over the next three days are estimated to fall just shy of Hydro's maximum generating capacity.

Hydro said it is unlikely there will be a problem, but it is putting its generation contingency plan in place and is requesting that customers on the island take steps to conserve electricity where possible.

In the statement, Hydro warned "there is a potential that rotating outages may be initiated during peak demand if any additional generation issues arise."

Customers are being asked to avoid unnecessary electricity usage, particularly from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. and from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m over the three days.

Hydro provided advice to both residential and business consumers.

It said that residential customers can reduce electric heat by a few degrees, avoid drying clothes, and conserve hot water by not running dishwashers, washers, and showers.

Businesses can help by reducing temperatures, only heating necessary spaces, reducing equipment use during peak periods, and turning off turning non-essential indoor lights and outdoor signs and billboards.

Hydro says it has 1,575MW of generation available on its system, and peak loads over the next three days are expected to be between approximately 1,400MW and 1,500MW. Hydro currently has 145MW of generation unavailable.

In January, Hydro initiated a series of rolling blackouts to conserve power after tens of thousands of customers were plunged into darkness, some for several days, when the system could not meet demands.