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NTPC suffers hydro failure, unsure what it means for your bill

The Snare Forks hydro facility is seen in an aerial photograph taken in the early 2000s
The Snare Forks hydro facility is seen in an aerial photograph taken in the early 2000s.

Part of the North Slave’s hydro system is offline after an equipment failure, leading the territory’s power corporation to warn it could affect your bill.

On Friday morning, the Northwest Territories Power Corporation (NTPC) said a bearing had failed on part of its Snare Forks hydro facility earlier in the week.

The unit is now out of service. Scott Spencer, the power corporation’s acting president, said it’s likely to remain offline “for several months.”

Loss of the unit, capable of generating 4.3 MW of power, removes around 15 percent of the North Slave hydro system’s total generating capacity.



In a statement, NTPC said an investigation into what happened was ongoing.

“The repair costs are unknown at this time as is the possible impact on electricity rates,” the statement read.

Spencer added: “We won’t know the full extent of the repairs until we have completed the inspection and investigation.

“We have sufficient hydro and backup diesel generation capacity to ensure reliable electricity supply to customers in Yellowknife and the North Slave region.”



The power corporation said the affected unit was due to be taken offline in April 2019 anyway, for an overhaul. That work will now take place ahead of time with the unit already down.

“There will be unbudgeted operating and maintenance costs related to the equipment
failure but NTPC is looking to mitigate their impact,” Friday’s statement read.

NTPC generates power for the entire territory and is also the distributor to many communities, though Yellowknife and Hay River are presently served by a different distributor in Northland Utilities. Ordinarily, Northland would be expected to pass on any cost increases to consumers.