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Power Restoration

Power outages are most often caused by severe weather: high winds, ice storms, and blizzards can all cause damage to our equipment.

When a power outage occurs, our goal is to return power to the greatest number of customers as safely, quickly and efficiently as possible. This will depend on the cause of the outage, and where on the system it occurs: at the power generation stage (power plants, hydro reservoirs, turbines etc.); on the transmission system (towers, transformers, high voltage lines etc.); or on the distribution system (substations, transformers attached to poles, low voltage lines, etc.).

Click here to learn more about How the System Works.

Types of Outages

Generation and transmission outages: Hydro is the primary generator of electricity in Newfoundland and Labrador, owning and operating the majority of the power plants and high voltage transmission system. If there is a generation supply issue, or if damage occurs at a generator or on a large transmission line, it could result in a widespread power outage.

Local distribution outages: The distribution system is the final stage in the delivery of power—it carries carries electricity from the transmission system across lower voltage lines and poles to individual homes and businesses. Distribution outages are often caused by damaged or downed power lines and usually occur in localized areas or neighbourhoods. These are often resolved quickly by your local electricity provider, either Hydro or Newfoundland Power.

Under Frequency Event
If there is a sudden loss of generation due to a trip or issue on the electricity system, Hydro automatically drops predetermined blocks of customers to quickly balance the system. This is called Under Frequency Load Shedding and it a mechanism designed to protect the system from further damage or a widespread outage. On average, under frequency events occur 5-8 times per year on the island part of the province and power outages are usually less than 30 minutes. Different blocks of customer are affected each time. Watch our video to learn more.

Planned and Unplanned Outages

Both of our province’s service providers, Hydro and Newfoundland Power, will have routine planned and unplanned outages.

Planned outages

Planned outages are purposely implemented when maintenance or routine repair work on the system is necessary. They are scheduled to occur during times when it would be less disruptive to the customer and overall system reliability can be maintained. They usually take place over the spring, summer and fall months.

Unplanned outages

Unplanned (or unexpected) outages are usually due to isolated events caused by a weather event, such as a winter storm, freezing rain, high wind or lightning.

How we respond to power outages

Depending on the location of the power outage, either Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro or Newfoundland Power will have crews dispatched to resolve the issue. In the case of impending severe weather, crews are on standby under our storm preparedness and emergency response protocols.

We may receive many calls during an outage caused by a full-force storm or blizzard. They are addressed in the following priority sequence:

  • Our first priority is to respond to 911 emergencies like fires or downed power lines that are energized (live).
  • We then focus on restoring electricity to essential services such as hospitals, seniors homes, fire and police stations.
  • We then repair system equipment that serve the largest number of customers.
  • And then move on to repair individual lines serving smaller neighbourhoods and individual customers.

This sequence may mean that some homes may be without power while others around them have power. We know that being without power is never easy, and we appreciate your patience and understanding.

To keep informed, register for myNLhydro for text or email notifications; check out the outage map or follow our social media channels.