Northwest Territories Power Corporation (NTPC) is monitoring the main generator in Fort McPherson after a parts failure over the last two days forced several emergency power outages and forced the use of the backup system.

Technical challenges emerged early in the afternoon of Jan. 9 in both Fort McPherson and Fort Simpson. Even after power was initially restored in both communities, there was still concern the generator could fail overnight in Fort McPherson, a community of 700 people, unless repairs were made. A full maintenance crew was dispatched to complete the work as temperatures in the Beaufort Delta plunged below -40 C.

“There was a parts failure in the generator and that part needs to be replaced,” said NTPC communications manager Doug Prendergast on Monday. “The generator has been operating at partial power since the failure, supported by an emergency generator. The replacement part and the required workers are on scene and the work will begin as soon as possible.”

Plans were made to have rolling blackouts throughout the night if the problems were more serious than initially appeared. Repairs were then temporarily delayed due to technical issues. Customers were asked to minimize their electricity use to reduce the load on the system.

After the repairs were completed, power generation remained stable throughout the night. An assessment of the generator is now underway. Residents are asked to continue to minimize power consumption until the problem can be resolved.

Prendergast told Inuvik Drum the generator was installed in 2004 and was only one third into its expected operating lifespan.

Eric Bowling

Your source for all things happening in the Beaufort Delta. Eric jumped at the chance to write for the Inuvik Drum after cutting his teeth in Alberta. He enjoys long walks, loud music and strong coffee....

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