South Slave

Power outages occurring across NWT, some blamed on storms

Last modified: June 30, 2021 at 1:38pm

The NWT Power Corporation linked a series of power outages affecting Yellowknife early on Wednesday to a thunderstorm passing over the hydro system supplying the city.

Residents reported losing power two to three times as Yellowknife, which is under a heat warning, experienced warmer-than-usual overnight temperatures of above 20C.

Yellowknife again briefly lost power later in the day, while there were also outages reported in Behchokǫ̀, Hay River, Fort Resolution, and Fort Smith.


In a series of tweets, the power corporation first reported a Yellowknife outage at 12:43am, saying power had returned by 1:03am.

“There is currently a thunderstorm in the vicinity of Snare Hydro,” the corporation tweeted, referring to the Snare system of hydro dams that delivers power to the North Slave.

Another outage was reported by the power corporation shortly after 4am.

“There continues to be heavy lightning activity between Yellowknife and Snare hydro,” the power corporation said just before 5am as it reported power had again been restored.

The NWT’s wildfire map, which also tracks lightning strikes, showed bands of lightning in the area of the hydro system on Wednesday morning.


Northland Utilities said lightning was also the cause of the later Wednesday outage in Yellowknife. Whether any fresh wildfires had been triggered by the same lightning was not immediately clear.

In Hay River, the power corporation said Northland – the town’s power distributor – had been “experiencing some problems which are affecting customers” on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the power corporation said “loss of transmission” from the South Slave’s Taltson hydro system resulted in outages in Fort Smith and Fort Resolution.

“Power has been restored using diesel in Fort Resolution, and our staff are working to safely restore using diesel in Fort Smith,” the corporation tweeted at 1:30pm on Wednesday.