Separate outages in city leave more than 10,000 customers in the dark

Two unrelated sources turned the lights off in much of the city this week.

Two unrelated sources turned the lights off in much of the city this week.

About 10,000 customers or a third of south Red Deer, including Bower Place Shopping Centre and surrounding neighbourhoods, were without power for six minutes on Wednesday.

Jim Jorgensen, manager of the city’s Electric Light and Power Department, said the power from the transmission lines outside of Red Deer failed to reach the southeast substation, causing an outage from 3:05 to about 3:11 p.m.

The city’s three substations — north, downtown and south — connect to the provincial grid providing power into the City of Red Deer.

Jorgensen said it took AltaLink about six minutes to fix the problem before the power was restored to the substation.

Then on Thursday, the power went out again for half an hour in northwest Red Deer, affecting customers in Highland Green, Oriole Park and surrounding areas at 2:30 p.m. and again for 45 minutes to an hour in most places at 5:06 p.m. No data was available on the number of customers affected in Thursday’s blackout.

“We had some (protection) equipment issues in the northwest of town,” he said. “We had crews respond immediately and we had it up and running in 30 minutes. Then later in the day … as the load increased later in the day, the repair efforts we did were impacted by an increased load and some safety equipment tripped. It took some power out again.”

Jorgensen said the city has one of the most reliable systems in the world but it is a system based on equipment and lines that are exposed to all sorts off elements, poles and those types of things. He said there are events that can impact the system regardless of how reliable it is, including weather, wildlife and other things.

“We respond as quickly as we can,” he said. “We repair. Replace them. That’s why we have a fairly significant maintenance, repair upgrading program in place. But time to time, these things happen.”