HVGB electricity usage high during cold streak

Derek Montague
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Labradorians advised to use energy wisely

NL Hydro

The extremely cold weather in Labrador has been causing much higher than normal energy consumption in Happy Valley-Goose Bay and the rest of the region.

In fact, Rick Kennedy, the Regional Manager for NL Hydro in Labrador says that today, with a temperature of -38 with wind-chill, may be record setting in terms of electricity consumption in Happy Valley-Goose Bay.

“Today we are looking at anywhere from 70 to 75 megawatts, which is probably the most Goose Bay has ever used at one point in time,” says Kennedy.

Although there is no immediate risk of another power outage like Wednesday’s, Kennedy claims that high consumption can be a problem if a line is knocked down by accident.

“It’s fair to say that our system is very solid. But if, for any reason, there could be a crow on the line… a tree could blow out on the line and knock out another feeder. And when that happens it’s very difficult to get that electricity back, if there’s a high load on,” says Kennedy.

According to Kennedy, the breaker trip on Wednesday was due to an “imbalance” on one of the lines of feeder 16 in Happy Valley Goose Bay.

“It was a load related issue on a feeder…on a line that feeds a portion of Happy Valley-Goose Bay from Hamilton Heights to Spruce Park,” says Kennedy.

“There’s three lines on a (pole) line…in the imbalance there’s too much on one of those line and not enough on the others.”

Kennedy says imbalances occur overtime as houses that are fed by one line begin using more electricity than on the other ones. The imbalances aren’t usually a problem until the temperatures get really cold.

“Homes probably build on garages; homes than add more equipment in their homes. They add more electronics…overtime there’s more added to one section of line than to another,” says Kennedy.

“In times when you just got regular temperatures, -10, -12, or even in the summer time, you may see a slight imbalance but not a lot. But as the load increases and everything in the home starts coming on, this is when the imbalance starts growing.”

NL Hydro fixed the problem by moving Spruce Park onto the Northwest River/Sheshatshiu feeder, which than lessened the stress that was placed on feeder 16.

“That took quite a bit of load off feeder 16. And then we made adjustments to our settings, that allowed us to get the power back on,” says Kennedy.

Even though the system is not struggling right now, Kennedy is advising Labradorians to conserve as much energy as possible during this cold season.

He suggests that people keep a “moderate temperature” in their homes, minimizing the use of hot water, and avoid using high-consumption products like clothes dryers.

Organizations: NL Hydro

Geographic location: Goose Bay, Happy Valley, Labrador Spruce Park Hamilton Heights

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  • Rex Smith
    January 06, 2014 - 18:09

    During the power outage the mayor and council were on social media promoting conservation but yet the town hall was lit right up, also his own house as well as other councillors like on pallsier were lit up, shame on them.