Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Iqaluit August 28, 2012 - 5:25 am

Four-hour Aug. 30 power outage spells new age of power in Iqaluit

“Short term pain, long term gain”

DAVID MURPHY

If you live in Iqaluit, you might want to put some batteries in your alarm clock — a city-wide planned power outage is scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 30, from 2 a.m. to 6 a.m.

The announcement was made Aug. 27 by Quilliq Energy Corp., which says the outage is “required in order to perform maintenance upgrades to the distribution system in the area.”

For George Hickes, the manager of corporate communications at QEC, it’s a “short term pain, long term gain” scenario for Iqaluit.

“With the new system being put up, they have to shut everything down to link it all in,” Hickes said. “Basically this upgrade will allow any further needs of the city to be phased into the power system a lot easier.”

This is the last leg of Qulliq’s three-phased upgrade to the system, increasing Iqaluit’s power capacity from 5,000 volts to 25,000 volts.

Hickes said there will be fewer outages in the area after the upgrade, and if there is an outage, it will affect fewer residents.

It will also “allow for the city’s anticipated growth for the upcoming years and decades.”

“The 25-kV system has allowed for a fair bit of growth for the city of Iqaluit. For this planned upgrade, it will just phase everything in. It will modernize [the system] a lot, and it will make things a lot easier for operating and engineering crews,” Hickes said.

A new 25 kV — or 25,000 volt — substation is the North American standard for a power supply. The substation is located adjacent to QEC’s current power plant, and the new system is expected to last up to 50 years.

Since the upgrade started in 2010, QEC has replaced aged insulators, transformers, distribution lines and power poles with those capable of supporting the higher 25 kV voltage.

Hickes said he has done his best to get the word out about the four-hour outage, informing more than 50 people on his email distribution list, informing media, and putting the word out on QEC’s twitter account.

“We appreciate everybody’s understanding and patience through this,” Hickes said.

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