By RYAN KING
PORT AUX BASQUES – Winter is fast approaching, and along with the usual snowstorms comes power outages. There are more options available to residents than just sitting at home in the dark and cold waiting for power to be restored. The town has warming centres in place during prolonged outages.
Nevertheless, the town of Port aux Basques takes measures to make sure the power stays on during winter storms. These include keeping communications open with Newfoundland Power and Newfoundland & Labrador Hydro. There are also emergency power backups that the town can avail of during harsh stormy weather.
“The town is in regular contact with NL Power and NL Hydro so that precautions are in place during a power outage. When an outage does occur, NL Power and NL Hydro have crews made readily available to address the outage issue. The Grand Bay West substation on the TCH is activated as soon as personnel are available to provide emergency power on the main grid lines. This emergency backup will ensure the Dr. L. LeGrow Health Centre and the Lion’s Club (an emergency warming centre) receive power as soon as possible,” stated Town Manager Leon MacIsaac.
Newfoundland Power has also installed energy switches that will allow electricity to be directed to impacted areas. These switches are continuing to be installed to improve the power grid around town.
“Once complete, this will provide backup generation to all areas, depending on the demand on the system,” said MacIsaac.
The demands on the system are crucial during winter storms, which is why residents should conserve power when there are outages, to help out around the community.
“Residents and businesses should limit their power demand while backup generation is active so that all areas can avail of power,” explained MacIsaac.
When residents are left cold during an extended power outage, the town provides a warming centre at the Fire Hall, and the Salvation Army also opens its warming centre.
“The Town has a mobile emergency generator for the Central Fire Hall/Social Centre which is the downtown warming centre. The Salvation Army also provides a warming area at their building on Hardy’s Arterial. The warming centres are not typically initiated until 24 hours after the initial power outage, depending on the time of year and weather conditions. Each warming centre is operated by volunteers and requires community support to ensure that the required volunteers are available,” said MacIsaac.
At the warming centres, residents can get a hot meal, though they are not meant for overnight stays.
“Each centre will provide a temporary location to get warm and a hot beverage, soup and sandwiches may be available depending on the availability of food/services.”