If nothing else, we learned something as a province on Tuesday. Be prepared.
A massive power outage that impacted hundreds of thousands of people lasted for about six hours before most SaskPower customers were back online. It took until about 10 pm until nearly all customers had electricity once again, although there were some extremely rural customers who might still be without power.
It was originally blamed on frost that has been weighing down power lines and poles for the last week but after about an hour, we started to get word of a much larger problem. It turned out that three of the SaskPower generations sites had gone offline for some unknown reason, leaving the system severely underpowered to meet the demands of winter needs. Combine the two issues together and it created one of the largest power outages in recent memory.
"At approximately 9 o'clock, when the power went off, we lost power stations in the southeast including the Boundary Dam Power Station, all four units, as well as the Shand Power Station and the Poplar River Power Station near Coronach as well," explained SaskPower Spokesperson Jordan Jackle.
Jackle said they had hundreds of employees on the ground, roads and in the sky to try and figure out exactly what happened to cause the system to shut down in the way that it did. Some photos show the obvious issues with power lines being pulled down under the weight of the frost but there's no word on why three major power stations all went down at the same time.
Some regions had power back on in a matter of minutes, others took a couple of hours while communities like Moose Jaw went six hours without electricity. The lack of power caused concerns for many residents as most also lost their heat, ability to cook and in some cases, power for medical equipment.
While the issue from Tuesday appears to be fixed, even if some of them are temporary, SaskPower is still telling residents to prepare just in case there's another outage in the near future. While they're not expecting another outage like Tuesday, the frost situation has not improved and the system is still in a delicate position. High winds could help or hinder their efforts as many lines are still heavy with the ice and could cause further outages.
A batch of warm air is expected for the weekend and that could alleviate the problems with the frost.