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Outage Types

Planned Outages

Our goal is to provide you with the most reliable service possible. To do this, we need to ensure our electricity system is in good condition. We are responsible for operating and maintaining over 250,000 poles; approximately 12,850 kilometres of power lines; 131 substations; and, more than 60,000 streetlights.

Planned outages are necessary to allow our crews to perform preventative maintenance on our system. During these planned outages, we replace aging equipment and complete upgrades that allow us to serve you better.

Advanced notice is provided for planned power interruptions for customers who sign up for Outage Alerts. Planned interruptions are also posted on our website two days in advance to allow customers adequate time to make necessary arrangements.

Unplanned Outages

Unplanned power outages are caused by events such as high winds, snow and ice storms, salt spray, lightning, and other severe weather conditions. Outages can also be caused by equipment problems, vehicle accidents, fallen trees, and even animals contacting power lines.

If a power outage affects only one part of your home, it may be due to a problem in your electricity panel, such as a tripped circuit breaker or a blown fuse. If resetting the circuit breaker or replacing the fuse does not restore power, you may require an electrician to investigate.

At certain times throughout the year, customers may be at risk of outages caused by either a generation shortage or an unexpected generation interruption. Such occurrences may lead to rotating power outages or under-frequency load shedding (see below).

Rotating Power Outages

To maintain service to customers, the amount of supply available on the electricity system must be greater than the amount being used by our customers. When there is not enough supply to meet customer demand, we must reduce the amount being used by our customers or risk the entire electricity system failing. In these rare circumstances, Newfoundland Power must rotate power between its customers.

To minimize the impact on customers, Newfoundland Power attempts to limit rotating power outages to 1 hour or less. Critical customers, who require services that are essential to health and safety, are avoided in rotating power outages.

Under-Frequency Load Shedding

When a large source of electricity is suddenly lost on the system (example, a generation unit goes down at Hydro's Holyrood Generating Plant), the frequency of the electrical system drops. To ensure the entire electrical system does not fail, our system is programmed to quickly disconnect small groups of customers to restore the balance of supply and demand. This is called under-frequency load shedding. When this occurs, power is usually restored within minutes, but may take up to an hour.

Newfoundland Power’s system is designed to ensure these types of outages are spread among our customers so the same customers are not impacted each time. Critical customers, who provide services that are essential to the health, safety and welfare of the communities we serve, are typically not included in under-frequency load shedding.