PEI

Maritime Electric traces cause of Island-wide outages to West Royalty substation

Maritime Electric has determined two major power outages over the last 24 hours can be traced back to the utility's West Royalty substation. 

'It's hard to express the hysteria'

Both power outages, leaving thousands in the dark, have been connected with Maritime Electric's West Royalty substation. (Stephanie vanKampen/CBC)

Maritime Electric has traced the cause of two major power outages, which took place on the Island over the last 24 hours, to the utility's West Royalty substation. 

The first incident, which happened late Thursday night, left 22,000 Islanders in the dark for about 90 minutes. 

The second outage happened shortly before noon on Friday and impacted about 31,000 Maritime Electric customers from West Royalty all the way to East Point. Power was out for just over an hour. 

In both cases the utility traced the issue back to the West Royalty substation. 

"There's no good day for an outage but today is Gold Cup and Saucer Parade Day in Prince Edward Island, so a pretty busy day for many many Islanders, as well as our customers," said Kim Griffin, a spokesperson with the utility. 

"It's hard to express the hysteria ... that happened today on a beautiful sunny day, when the power went out again." 

Maritime Electric said it is still working on repairs at the West Royalty substation.

Maritime Electric is thanking customers for their help in identifying the problem on social media. (Stephanie VanKampen/CBC)

Fire crews called to UPEI

Officials at UPEI believe the second outage might have been the reason fire crews were called to the campus around noon, Friday.

Someone noticed a propane-like smell in a lab and the building was evacuated shortly after. The Charlottetown Fire Department was called and quickly cleared the fumes. 

The Charlottetown Fire Department was called just after noon to UPEI’s K.C. Irving building for what was thought to be a flammable-liquids spill. (Stephanie vanKampen/CBC)

Officials said the ventilation system might have been down due to the power outage. 

"There is a little bit of a sulfur smell in the building, which is little bit consistent, so we're just ventilating the building to make sure there's no spill. There's no gas leaking anywhere in the building, we're quite sure," said Randy MacDonald, fire chief for the Charlottetown Fire Department. 

Maritime Electric is thanking customers for their help in identifying the problem on social media.

"At the time, you can imagine, the city is completely black. We're trying to decide where are we going to go and patrol all these routes, where are we going to look first. So it's actually quite helpful and it was helpful in this situation as well," Griffin said.

The utility said it has the problem under control and isn't expecting outages any time soon.

Maritime Electric isn't sure what caused the cable damage in the first place but are conducting an investigation to get to the bottom of the issue. 

More P.E.I. news

With files from Stephanie VanKampen

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