Power transmission problems speed up time in B.C.

In the 2007 movie Next, Nicolas Cage plays a man who can see several minutes into the future.

VANCOUVER — In the 2007 movie Next, Nicolas Cage plays a man who can see several minutes into the future.

For Cage, it was a way to help stop a terrorist bomb plot. But for thousands of B.C. residents who’ve inched ahead in time, it’s just made it harder to figure out when to have lunch.

From Gold Bridge in the southwest B.C. Interior to Prince Rupert on the northern coast, electric clocks have been gaining time for weeks due to power fluctuations as BC Hydro works on the grid.

Hydro had to modify electricity delivery west of Lillooet after a forest fire damaged power lines last month, forcing it to step down power delivery from a nearby reservoir to the area’s 450 residents.

Meanwhile, an upgrade to the northern transmission system has meant taking a power line out of service and temporarily drawing power from RioTinto Alcan’s Kemano generator. In both cases, that’s meant the power supply’s cyclic frequency is slightly faster than the North American standard of 60 hertz, says Hydro spokesman Dag Sharman.

“The fact that it’s at 60.3 hertz means that people may notice that their clocks run fast by about 18 seconds every hour,” says Sharman.

It essentially means the frequency should be 60 cycles per second, instead it’s .3 cycles faster each second.

Residents shouldn’t notice the faster frequency fouling up any other machinery, he says.

About 65,000 northern residents are affected by Hydro’s system upgrade, including the communities of Terrace, Kitimat, Prince Rupert, Hazelton and Smithers.

People seem to be taking their personal time warp in stride. “We’re a pretty adaptable bunch,” says Heather Gallagher, executive director of the Smithers Chamber of Commerce.

It has, however, tripped up a local custom in the forestry town of 5,300.

“The only thing that we’ve noticed is that at noon every day the fire hall always rings the fire alarm bell just to let everyone know it’s lunchtime” says Gallagher.

“It’s just a tradition in our town that they’ve done for years. That’s been running a little haphazard because it comes on sometimes at 10 to (noon).”

Sharman says the cyclic shift should not affect computer clocks, which run on independent battery power.

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Red Deer College Queens host third annual Pink in the Rink game

The Red Deer College Queens hosted the Olds College Broncos at the… Continue reading

PHOTOS: The Mustard Seed CEO speaks at Seeds of Hope Gala in Red Deer

The first-ever Seeds of Hope Gala was held at the Red Deer… Continue reading

PHOTO: Renewable Energy Fair at Red Deer College

The Renewable Energy Fair and Workshops event was held at Red Deer… Continue reading

Person airlifted to hospital after collision near Innisfail

One person was airlifted to hospital after a serious collision west of… Continue reading

WATCH: Make-A-Wish grants Star Wars loving teen’s wish

The Make-A-Wish Foundation granted Anakin Suerink’s wish in Red Deer Saturday afternoon

‘Stupid’ law preventing Canada’s re-engagement with Iran: retired envoy

OTTAWA — The real reason the Liberal government hasn’t been able to… Continue reading

Voters head to polls for BC municipal elections today

VANCOUVER — Voters in British Columbia will head to the polls today… Continue reading

All sharks tagged in N.S. expedition can now be tracked on Ocearch website

HALIFAX — All six of the sharks tagged in Nova Scotian waters… Continue reading

Memorial service for former PQ minister Lise Payette today in Montreal

MONTREAL — Mourners will gather to remember former Parti Quebecois cabinet minister… Continue reading

Immunotherapy scores a first win against some breast cancers

For the first time, one of the new immunotherapy drugs has shown… Continue reading

‘Mom I’m in trouble:’ Canadian, Brit face 10 years in jail for alleged graffiti

GRANDE PRAIRIE, Alta. — The mother of a Canadian who was arrested… Continue reading

Coyote on the prowl near Penhold

This coyote was out on the prowl in a field just west… Continue reading

Most Read