Equipment failure blamed for power outage

Jonathan Riley, Digby Courier
Published on November 20, 2012
Power outage

Equipment failure during repairs to the hydro plant in Bear River caused the power outage in the Digby area this morning, Tuesday, Nov. 20.

Almost 5,000 customers lost power just after 9 a.m. and most didn’t get it back until 12:30 p.m.

Nova Scotia Power spokesman David Rodenhiser says crews were working on upgrades at the Gulch Hydro Station in Bear River when the equipment failure occurred.

This he says caused the substation on Flat Iron Road in Conway to shutdown and stop transmitting power.

“It’s a little complicated,” he says. “But basically the two facilities are linked. And when the substation sensed the equipment failure in Bear River, it shut itself down.”

Crews were sent out to investigate at both facilities.

Rodenhiser says the company is sorry for any inconvenience and they are also looking to see if they can develop measures to prevent a similar outage in the future.

The Gulch hydro plant dates from 1957. Rodenhiser says they are upgrading all the switches and breakers at the plant. They started the work four weeks ago and should be done the $800,000 project by mid-December.

The outage extended from Conway and Digby to Smith’s Cove, East Ferry, North Range, Doucetteville and Barton.

Both sets of traffic lights in Digby were out and the Digby RCMP report no collisions. They did write five tickets at the intersection of Victoria Street and Warwick, mostly for drivers failing to stop.

Corporal Patricia MacQuarrie said intersections with lights that aren’t working should be treated like any other four way stop.

“People need to drive sensibly and cautiously,” says Corporal Patricia MacQuarrie. “You stop, watch for other traffic and proceed when it is safe to do so.”

Digby Elementary and the high school both closed mid-morning.