The Snare Rapids Hydro Unit will remain offline for at least a month and could be down all winter.

Doug Prendergast, spokesperson for the Northwest Territories Power Corporation (NTPC) said in a news release Friday afternoon that the unit shut down automatically Feb. 2. Sensors picked up problems somewhere in the generator.

“The failure of equipment in the main generator caused the original shutdown,” Prendergast said. “A significant amount of work will be required before the unit can return to service.”

He said the work is expected to take at least a month and the generator “could potentially be out of service for the remainder of winter.”

The NTPC built the generator in 1948. Major retrofits took place in 1986, 2005 and 2018.

“NTPC has been able to extend the life of assets through maintenance and repair,” NTPC president and CEO Noel Voykin said in Friday’s release. “But has now reached the point where reliability will continue to decline without significant capital investment. Mechanical and other failures are likely to become more frequent as assets reach the end of their design life.”

The Snare Rapids complex had other issues in December.

It was shut down on December 10 following the discovery of an oil sheen near the facility.

The corporation advised that they replaced oil in the unit with a “high viscosity lubricant” to prevent future leaking. 

The corporation plans a detailed inspection for a period of warmer weather and lower electricity needs later this year.

The Snare Falls Hydro Unit, a separate complex from Snare Rapids, was itself shut down for about three weeks last May.

Craig Gilbert

Craig is an award-winning journalist who has worked in his home province of Ontario, the Northwest Territories, British Columbia, Alberta and the Northwest Territories again. He should be at least six...

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