The perfect conditions came together to create a power wrecking force across the province. 

From the start of December until the night hours on December 4th moist, misty, fogging, and freezing conditions allowed for frost to build up on power lines resulting in one of the largest power outages in the province since 1981.

"Tuesday morning was the time when the outages were at their highest. At that height, we had between 175,000 and 200,000 customers without power in the province. Looking back it's potentially the biggest outage of this sort that we've seen since 1981," said SaskPower spokesperson Joran Jackle.

Frost was the main component wreaking havoc on the province said Jackle. "Starting on Friday night we were seeing transmission line trips increase and increase over the course of the weekend and into Monday. That frost out there caused by the conditions was really allowed to stick to our stuff. It was sticking to our lines, it was sticking to equipment and essentially adding enough weight to cause pretty significant damage out there to our transmission and distribution structures. In some cases it was causing lines to sag, sometimes to actually break." 

SaskPower was hard at work during the time of the outages to get the power restored dispatching employees across the province.

"We don't really have an exact figure at this point, but we did have hundreds of employees addressing the issue. We have 157,000 km's of power line in this province between transmission and distribution, so there was a lot of power line to patrol and a lot of damage assessment that needed to happen. We had crews on the ground, we had crews in the sky on helicopters looking to figure that out. From that point, we moved to repair and restore mode. We wanted to reroute power to get the highest number of customers back on as soon as possible."  

As for now, until conditions brighten up, Jackle said the province may not be entirely in the clear yet. "This is something we might continue to see until we actually get the sun coming out and burning some of that frost out there. We're kind of waiting for Mother Nature to do its part here." 

SaskPower would like to remind anyone who does see damaged equipment or sagging lines, to not touch anything, treat everything as if they're live and conducting electricity and to call the SaskPower outage center. 

Forecasts do show for some sun in the next few days so one of the largest outages in nearly 40 years may be running out of power.

 

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