News Releases

Equipment failure causes power outage

Feb 20, 2015

YELLOWKNIFE, NT (February 20, 2015) – The City of Yellowknife experienced a full power outage early Sunday, February 15, when the turbine at Snare Falls hydroelectric plant tripped off line while generating electricity. Power to the City was restored using additional diesel and hydro.

Snare Falls is the second of four plants on the Snare River hydroelectric system and has been producing about 4 MW of power. Without this 4 MW of hydro-generated electricity, additional diesel will be required to meet the demand for Yellowknife, Behchoko and Dettah, at a cost of approximately $40,000 per day.

Mechanics have been on site since Sunday morning evaluating the damage and the initial investigation has identified a broken bearing on the turbine. Current repair time is estimated at two to six weeks, depending on availability of parts and barring additional work that is identified once the unit is disassembled.

Additional conservation efforts on the part of customers in Yellowknife, Behchoko, Ndilo and Dettah will help decrease the amount of diesel required, especially at high volume times throughout the day such as lunch and dinner times. We thank you for your efforts both in advance of this incident and going forward.


Media contact:

Pam Coulter
Communications Manager
Tel:      867-874-5202
Cell:     867-876-1095



Snare Falls

The Snare Falls facility is the second downstream hydro plant on the Snare River hydro system, commissioned in 1961, and located 15 km SW of Snare Rapids.

The power plant contains a Kaplan turbine with a 7.5 MW generator.


Last refurbished

Hydro units typically have a long life between major rehab/rebuild efforts of approximately 25 years, it is noted that the last major rehab work was approximately 20 years ago.


Last inspection

After the Snare Falls turbine’s 2014 inspection plans were made to replace all bearings along with rehabilitation or replacement of the turbine and electrical generator.  This was scheduled to occur in the 2015/2016 fiscal year – which begins April 1, 2015.


Bearings monitored

The bearings in question are monitored electronically with unit shutdowns created when operating parameters of the bearings are exceeded.  Hydro plant operators perform daily visual inspections as a part of routine checks and bearing oils are carefully checked during shutdown inspections and no abnormalities were noted.

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