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Tens of thousands of Newfoundlanders without power, maybe for days

Jan. 5, 2014 at 2:42 PM   |   Comments

ST. JOHN'S, Newfoundland, Jan. 5 (UPI) -- Tens of thousands of Newfoundlanders could be in the dark until Monday or Tuesday after a snowstorm knocked out power to parts of the island, officials said.

Newfoundland Power customers on Newfoundland and Labrador have been without heat and electricity since shortly after 9 a.m. Saturday when nearly 15 inches of snow fell on parts of the island, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported.

Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro employee John MacIsaac said equipment failure and a transformer malfunction caused a fire at the Sunnyside substation, resulting in the power outages.

"The trigger today was Sunnyside, and the setback today was Sunnyside," said MacIsaac.

The fire caused the shutdown on the Holyrood Generating Station power grid, the CBC reported. Crews have been working to bring the grid back online.

Power was restored for about two hours Saturday afternoon, but went out again.

Gary Smith, a vice president with Newfoundland Power, said Saturday evening that utility workers from Prince Edward Island were to arrive to help with power restoration on Monday.

"I do understand the agony that you're going through," Smith said.

About 87,000 customers were without power at 10:30 p.m. Saturday.

Fire and Emergency Services said it was monitoring the situation closely.

"We're now in regular contact, of course, with emergency response stakeholders throughout the province, and many of which are actually present at our emergency operations center," said department head Steve Kent. "At this point, I'm encouraging municipalities to take the next necessary steps to ensure the safety of residents."

Meanwhile, the storm also caused travel delays, CBC News said.

Most flights in and out of St. John's International Airport Sunday were canceled and the shifting snow has made it difficult to plow.

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