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Rebuilding of substation may have contributed to power outages in Corner Brook area Monday

Crews work on rebuilding the Bayview Substation in Corner Brook East. Newfoundland Power has a portable substation on the site during the $2.9-million project to ensure continuous service to its customers.
Crews work on rebuilding the Bayview Substation in Corner Brook East. Newfoundland Power has a portable substation on the site during the $2.9-million project to ensure continuous service to its customers. - Gary Kean

When the power went out in parts of Corner Brook for the second time Monday, all Manda Bennett thought about was the situation she would be in if she lost her electricity.

The Corner Brook woman lives on the city’s west side and was fortunate to be spared from the electrical troubles that affected the eastern side of the city and some communities on the outskirts.

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Many were without power for around five hours earlier in the day. When some lost it again later Monday evening, Bennett went to Facebook and posted an open invitation for anyone needing electricity to come to her home.

“I’m a young mom myself and I understand that, when you are in need with a child, they come first,” Bennett said in an interview Tuesday.

“Families come first.”

Bennett’s offer was taken up by a mom of two children from the Hughes Brook area. Bennett said the person who contacted her had just put her newborn’s blankets in the washer when the power went.

In addition to using her washer and dryer, Bennett gave the woman some candles should she need them through the night.

“She just needed to get that little bit of stuff done,” said Bennett. “I was ready to help and I gave what I could.”

Bennett said she had no qualms posting her generous offer on the popular Corner Brook Classifieds group.

“If someone did show up at my door, they truly needed the help,” she said. “I don’t think anyone would abuse that resource, especially in that sort of time of need.”

She said it felt great to be able to help this fellow mother and her kids.

“The reward for helping someone is much more important to me than the risk of letting someone come to my house,” she said. “It’s community. We really need to stick together during hard times.”

The power outages

According to Newfoundland Power, the utility is in the midst of a $2.9-million rebuild of its Bayview Substation, located near the eastern entrance to Corner Brook via the Lewin Parkway.

This project appears to have impacted the restoration time of the initial outage Monday and the subsequent outage later in the night, Newfoundland Power stated in an emailed response to a request for an interview Tuesday about the outages.

The upgrade is meant to improve long-term reliability of power in the Corner Brook area serviced by that substation.

To allow the work to be done, as well as to avoid the potential for multiple, ongoing power interruptions, Newfoundland Power is using a portable substation to supply power to customers in the area.

In addition, the electricity system serving this area has been temporarily reconfigured so the work can proceed safely.

As a result of these temporary conditions, the repair work associated with the damaged transmission line Monday took longer than expected. An issue with the portable substation, related to the earlier damage to the transmission line, caused the later outage at around 10:15 p.m.

The later outage lasted around 45 minutes and affected around 4,100 customers.

Given the use of the portable substation, Newfoundland Power said it does not expect there to be any power interruptions related to the Bayview Substation rebuilding project.

There will likely be a brief scheduled outage, though, when the work is completed in October to return the electricity system in the area back to normal.

Newfoundland Power said it will notify its customers in advance of this happening.

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