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A truly Canadian blackout

Posted on May 30, 2017 by Maple Creek
Jasper Street is dark and silent as night falls May 27.

Megan Roth
Twitter: @MeganMCNews

The Southwest faced an unexpected nine-hour blackout on May 27.

The disruption created possibly the most Canadian story.

“This is quite the Canadian story,” said Laura McKnight, a spokesperson with SaskPower

A beaver, Canada’s national animal, chewed through a power pole somewhere between Gull Lake and Maple Creek.

McKnight says the beaver went right through the pole.

When crews got to the site, they found something that seemed to be out of a cartoon, she said.

The beaver had chewed around the pole until it created a point and toppled over, McKnight explained.

“It really made me think of a cartoon, you know when beavers chew round and round a tree until it creates a point,” said McKnight.
SaskPower was notified of a line being tripped at 3:23 p.m.

The outage affected Maple Creek, Tompkins, Gull Lake, Webb and surrounding areas.

An estimated 2,500 customers were affected by the outage.

Power was restored to the area by 1:45 a.m. on May 28.

“Crews were able to get a new pole up and have powered restored to the affected areas,” said McKnight.

A downed pole due to a beaver was not something the crews expected to find when investigating the issue.

The week before, May 22-26, there were very strong winds throughout Saskatchewan that caused power outages for SaskPower.

With some strong winds on Saturday, crews were thinking it would be something similar.

“Weather makes up for roughly 31 per cent of unplanned power outages in Saskatchewan,” explained McKnight.

While weather does make up a large chunk of causes for unplanned power outages, animals do sometimes cause problems as well, McKnight added.

Power outages caused by animals makes up roughly four per cent of unplanned outages in the province.

“It’s not common but it does happen,” McKnight said, adding the next day another area in the province was affected by an outage caused by a bird flying into the lines.

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