“For us, it’s not uncommon to have outages,” said Bishop, superintendent of area operations for the Corner Brook area with Newfoundland Power.
“It’s not an unusual occurrence to have these types of interruptions.”
Bishop said Newfoundland Power customers experience some disruption of service every winter, either because of weather, vandalism or equipment malfunctions.
He said outages in the city on Monday and this past Friday were localized and had nothing to do with the trouble the whole island experienced on Jan. 11.
On that day, in the height of a major storm on the east coast, one of the three units at Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro’s Holyrood Generating Plant — which supplies power to the island portion of the province — was damaged, causing outages provincewide. The unit is still offline and is not expected to be repaired before the end of the winter.
Even with that lost unit, Bishop said there is still sufficient power for the island.
“What’s happening is there’s a heightened sensitivity since the Jan. 11 incident that everybody is kind of on pins and needles and hearing (about) things like rolling blackouts.”
On Monday, power was out in the townsite area of the city, including Reid Street, Central Street, Humber Park, North Street and Montgomerie Street. Western Memorial Regional Hospital and St. Gerard’s Elementary were both affected.
Bishop said the problem originated at substation Bayview in an area near the Trans-Canada Highway at feeder 03.
“The primary cable, the main line that feeds an entire neighbourhood, burned off,” said Bishop, adding it’s usually indicative of a problem in the area.
“In this case it’s a bit of a mystery why it burned where it did because it wasn’t actually connected to something else right where it burned.”
Bishop said it could have been a defect in the wire. The wire could have been crimped before it was put up and deteriorated over the years.
He said the power outage was first reported by the hospital at 3 a.m. and the main problem was fixed before 9 a.m.
About a dozen homes in the Reid Street area were still without power as crews worked to replace a transformer that went out, and that may have been related to the initial outage.
Late Friday afternoon parts of West Valley Road, Humber Park and O’Connell Drive were affected by an outage caused by a problem on the Humber substation’s 09 feeder.
The initial outage lasted just over a half an hour and was followed by at least three shorter outages.
“Basically there was a piece of equipment that cut out that was damaged behind the armoury,” said Bishop.
Because of its location, he said, it took some time to locate and get to it.