Snare Rapids Hydro Unit offline for at least a month

Last modified: February 12, 2021 at 4:13pm

The Snare Rapids Hydro Unit will remain offline for at least a month but could potentially be out of service for the rest of the winter, the Northwest Territories Power Corporation (NTPC) warned on Friday.

The unit shut down automatically on February 2 when issues were detected with the hydro generator, which resulted in a 20-minute power outage in Yellowknife.

NTPC determined failure of equipment in its main generator caused the original shutdown, but after thorough inspection, the company now says a “significant amount of work will be required before the unit can be returned to service.”


“Mechanical and other failures are likely to become more frequent as assets reach the end of their design life,” President and CEO of NTPC, Noel Voykin, stated in a press release.

“NTPC has been able to extend the life of assets through maintenance and repair but has now reached the point where reliability will continue to decline without significant capital investment.”

For the time being, Yellowknife’s Jackfish diesel plant has taken over, as the company does not know when Snare Rapids may resume operations.

The total cost of the shutdown remains unknown, as the cost of replacement diesel depends on the weather and changes with the temperature.


“There was heavy power demand in the North Slave region last week due to extremely cold weather, but demand has decreased significantly over the past several days with rising temperatures,” the company said.

The generator for Snare Rapids was originally constructed in 1948 and has had major work done on it in 1986, 2005, and 2018.

The source of this particular failure was last upgraded in 1986, the company said.