One day down, two to go

Ashley Fitzpatrick
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Utilities ask for continued conservation during cold snap

Residents and businesses on the island of Newfoundland are entering Day 2 of a three-day energy-conservation period requested by the utilities responsible for the island’s main power grid.

Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro is responsible for supplying the bulk of power for the grid and closely watched the use of Hydro’s power on Tuesday, noting a peak demand in the morning of 1,406 megawatts (MW) of power, shortly after 7:30 a.m.

Before blitzing media with a call for energy conservation, the utility had expected a morning peak demand of 1,450 MW.

“It appears that customer conservation efforts helped reduce the peak we saw on the system this morning,” said Dawn Dalley, Hydro parent Nalcor Energy’s vice-president of corporate relations, in a statement.

“Every action helps and we do appreciate that people are pitching in,” Dalley said.

On Monday, Hydro staff stated the utility is currently working off a system with 1,575 MW of power available for use, with expected demand between 1,400 MW and 1,500 MW each day through Thursday.

In other words, there was not a large buffer between the demand and available supply, leading to the request for energy conservation, particularly at periods of high power usage, from 7-10 a.m. and from 4-8 p.m.

Hydro has been asked for a detailed breakdown of what is being included in its 1,575 MW of power supply available.

Dalley has said it includes a block of 60 MW of power from Corner Brook Pulp and Paper, negotiated for on Dec. 31.

The number does not include 145 MW of Hydro-owned power generating capability deemed offline into Tuesday morning. It also does not include 24.5 MW used to keep the Holyrood power plant running.

The total numbers being issued to the media are all specific to Hydro’s power, she added in an interview, and do not include the rest of the power generation at Corner Brook Pulp and Paper, or the power available through Newfoundland Power.

The total includes a mix of some power from the hydro plants in Central and steam power from Corner Brook Pulp and Paper, both purchased by Hydro.

It does not include wind power.

Speaking with The Telegram Tuesday evening, Dalley cautioned against people getting tripped up in the numbers.

“You’re taking island (power) versus Hydro, now you’re taking gross versus net, now firm versus installed,” she said.

On any given day, the numbers change, but they are all being monitored by the Board of Commissioners of Public Utilities (PUB), through daily reports.

The PUB is receiving the reports in follow-up to rolling blackouts and outages on the island Jan. 2-8 and will be addressing the reliability of the entire system for this winter and through to 2017 in a report coming May 15.

The bottom line for the moment is, due to colder than expected temperatures, Hydro is running short enough on the overall power supply to cause concern and the call for conservation.

All customers are being asked to continue taking steps to conserve electricity where possible.


Power down facts

On Monday and Tuesday, Hydro was reporting issues with four power generators, taking away from the overall power available to feed customers. The total estimate on unavailable power was 145 megawatts (MW), according to the utility. That includes:

•   35 MW unavailable due to a repair required on one of three generators at the Holyrood power plant

•    75 MW out due to one of six generators being offline at the Bay d’Espoir plant

•   10 MW less than normal capability at the Stephenville gas turbine, due to the capacity of a replacement engine

•    25 MW less from the Hardwoods plant, due to a fuel valve issue

(Source: Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro; NLH System Supply and Demand Report March 3, 2014.)

Here is what comprises the 1575 MW:


Bay d'Espoir - 525

Cat Arm - 138

Hinds Lake - 78

Granite Canal - 41

Upper Salmon - 88

Paradise River  - 9

All hydro - 879


Holyrood - 455

Hardwoods - 25

Stephenville - 40

Northern Peninsula Diesels 14

All thermal - 533 

Purchases - 103 (Exploits Generation from Nalcor, Cogeneration from CBPP)

CBPP additional capacity purchase - 60

(Source: Nalcor)


This is a corrected version


Organizations: Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro, Board of Commissioners of Public Utilities

Geographic location: Holyrood, Corner Brook

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Recent comments

  • Maurice E. Adams
    March 05, 2014 - 12:08

    Just a note to say "Thank You" Ashley for providing not only corrected information, but much more complete, supporting data. Context is often important in conveying what is sometimes complex information.... Maurice Adams.

  • Wondering
    March 05, 2014 - 09:32

    WE have 54 Mw of wind generation, I heard Danny Williams has bought these units. Is this true? And what capacity of operation did they give last night?

    • saelcove
      March 05, 2014 - 10:25

      What ever the little man wants he gets to hell with the rest

  • WOndering
    March 05, 2014 - 09:21

    Ashley, can you clarify further......The power from central being purchased (exploits or other?) What is the amount and show it separate from CB cogeneration. These are now combined for 103 MW. And is there more available from central for purchase that is not contracted for?

  • Robert
    March 05, 2014 - 09:11

    They say they don't include wind power because it is too unreliable and it is not available when the wind isn't blowing. There are 9 wind turbines in Fermuse. I have travelled up there multiple times, as my parents live there, and I have NEVER seen all 9 of them not turning, usually only 1 or two stopped. Granted, I am not seeing them every day. Here's a question I want some reporter to ask: How many days has it been since those 9 turbines went online, and, out of those days, how many days did they sit idle due to a lack of wind?

  • Maurice E. Adams
    March 05, 2014 - 08:56

    Re the Corrected Version:----- The "corrected version" therefore DOES NOT INCLUDE :-------the rest of the power generation at Corner Brook Pulp and Paper;----the power available through Newfoundland Power;----steam power produced by Corner Brook Pulp and Paper;---------available wind power;-----------power from the Hydro assets in Central ----- the total Island Interconnected System NET capacity (less the 145MW that is down) is therefore ---- 1,946 MW.............Again, WHAT IS THE PROBLEM? Why are being given only a portion of the actual total Island Interconnected System capacity numbers?

    • Maurice E. Adams
      March 05, 2014 - 09:02

      math correction: less the 145MW that is down, leaves 1,801 MW total Island Interconnected System capacity (about 400-500MW MORE THAN our current peak demand).

  • Guy Incognito
    March 05, 2014 - 08:47

    Gotta love how Hydro spins this. They put the responsiblility for power use on the public. Like the old Smokey the Bear ads...only YOU can prevent power outtages....then they congratulate us when we turn the lights wouldn't know but they are offering a public service which we don't pay through the teeth for..... Is this an attempt to take the focus off their unbelievable incomptence?

  • Mauric E. Adams
    March 05, 2014 - 06:58

    Ashley, you say that "...the utility is currently working off a system with 1,575 MW of power available for use... The total numbers being issued to the media are all specific to Hydro’s power, ... and do not include the rest of the power generation at Corner Brook Pulp and Paper, or the power available through Newfoundland Power.... The total for available supply similarly does not include steam power produced by Corner Brook Pulp and Paper, any available wind power and power from the Hydro assets in Central, available for purchase rather than free use. -------- So our demand is in the 1300-1450 MW range (still hundreds below the approx. 1,600 MW were had from 2002 to around 2007 with no blackouts) and the island total net capacity of the Island Interconnected System is 1,946 MW -- less the 145 MW indicated above. So what's the problem? Why didn't Nalcor give tell us before about all the hundreds of MWs that they were not including in their 1,575 MW number?

    • Morry
      March 05, 2014 - 11:48

      A dog and his bone.

    • Tony Rockel
      March 05, 2014 - 12:04

      Morry, don't knock what Maurice is doing. A "dog" can uncover a LOT of dirt while he's retrieving his bone.