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Rankin Inlet residents still asked to conserve power as generator repairs continue

Rankin Inlet, Nunavut, residents are still being asked to conserve power after more than a week of problems with generators at the community's power plant.

Largest of 5 generators still offline

Three of the five power generators in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut are currently up and running with a fourth, the largest, undergoing additional work. The community still needs to conserve power until the largest generator is repaired.

Rankin Inlet, Nunavut, residents are still being asked to conserve power after more than a week of problems with generators at the community's power plant.

The Qulliq Energy Corporation (QEC) says conserving power is needed to prevent going back to the rolling power outages that happened Tuesday night when the community was down to two functioning generators.

Three of the five power generators in the community are currently up and running with a fourth, the largest, undergoing additional work.

The power problems started on Nov. 24, when the first of five generators faced mechanical issues and went down. Some parts of the community were affected by power outages but the community continued running normally on four generators.

Then on Tuesday a second generator had a mechanical issue, followed by issues in a third generator a few hours later.

"One of the gensets that we lost was one of the biggest gensets that we have," said Jamie Flaherty, vice-president of the Qulliq Energy Corporation.

With the community running on only two of five generators, QEC moved to hourly rotating outages to 30 per cent of the community. A charter flight from Winnipeg that night brought parts to repair one of the smaller power generators and once three generators were running again, the rolling outages were ended.

But until the largest generator, which is actively being worked on, is back up and running the community still needs to conserve power, said Flaherty.

To have so many generators go down to mechanical issues in a single community is unusual, he said.

"It's not normal to lose three all at once," Flaherty said.

However a lot of the generators in Nunavut's power plants are old, and many have passed their expected lifespan of about 100,000 hours.

"But due to lack of resources ... we can't replace all of them at the same time even though we want to," he said.

QEC says this month all the testing for a new power plant in Taloyoak wrapped up. It is the first power plant construction project to be built from the ground up by QEC, and the company says its improved fuel efficiency lowers its impact on the environment.

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