Meter Reader Safety Continues Across the Province

A clear path to allow easy access to a property’s meter

A clear path to allow easy access to a property’s meter

With the winter season coming to an end, Hydro meter readers across the province would like to say thank you to our customers who have helped keep them safe while on the job during the winter months. Our meter readers come across numerous hazards when entering properties; a family dog, left behind debris, children’s yard toys, and snow banks, all can make a meter reader’s job unsafe.

At Hydro, safety is the most important consideration in all that we do. As the winter months in Newfoundland and Labrador bring heavy snow along with rain and ice, our employees in the field, especially meter readers, are exposed to potential safety risks on a daily basis when entering a property. When clearing snow and ice from your property, a few extra minutes out of your time will help ensure your meter is read correctly and our employees return home safely every day – a win-win situation!

Last year, we implemented our meter reader safety campaign and received great feedback from our customers and our meter reader employees. Better access to meters during winter months was visible across the province, which allowed accurate readings of property meters, and allowed Hydro meter readers to complete their job safely. We appreciate and wish to thank Hydro customers who go out of their way to ensure their meter is easily accessible.

Let’s continue to work together, during every month of the year, to ensure we can provide an accurate reading of your meter in a manner that is safe for our employees. Thank you!



  • March 17, 2016

Crews scheduled to complete work on Labrador City distribution system upgrades

By Rick Kennedy
Regional Manager for Labrador, Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro

Hydro is overseeing a multi-year project to upgrade the distribution system in Labrador City from 4.16KV to 25KV to improve reliability and meet load growth in the area. This is a substantial project and involves a great deal of planning, monitoring and work on the ground by many skilled individLab City Distribution Upgradeuals.

Hydro is managing and overseeing the work being completed by a qualified contracting company on the distribution system to ensure it is completed safely and on schedule. The contractor is currently mobilized and on site in Labrador City. Hydro ensures the work being performed is compliant to our most current standards, with the highest priority on safety.

2015 is the last year for this multi-year project. Work commenced in early May and will continue until Fall with the 7 remaining distribution lines (approximately 1300 customers) to be upgraded this year.

Crews have started with the replacement of the remaining 200 pole mounted transformers, each of which will result in a planned outage for four to eight customers for approximately 1 hour. Another outage will be required to switch the voltage of all transformers on a section of line. These outages will be grouped to minimize disruption.

Some transformer replacements will require access through customer property; however, customers will be contacted to approve entrance. We assure customers the property will be restored to its original condition.

Finally, there will be planned outages of three to four hours, which are necessary to replace components on the primary sections of the lines, including poles. These outages will be spread through the construction areas whenever possible, so the same customers are not impacted within short timeframes.

Our planned outages will be announced on local media sites (radio and CRRS community channels) at least 24 hours prior to the outage. If any customer has specific needs, we would like for them to contact the local office at (709) 282-3243 or customers may also call 1-888-737-1296 Monday to Friday, 8 AM to 3:30 PM (Labrador time) or email

We appreciate the patience of customers as these upgrades are completed this year. This is a critical project to ensure the distribution system can accommodate growth in the area and remains safe and reliable well into the future.

  • July 8, 2015

Ten Fun Things To Do During Earth Hour

(This blog was originally posted for Earth Hour 2014, however the information is still useful, so we’re sharing again!)

So what are your plans for Earth Hour this weekend?

For those of you who don’t already know, Earth Hour is a global event organized by the World Wildlife Fund in which people are encouraged to turn off their lights for just one hour. It takes place tomorrow (Saturday, March 28) from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m.

Hydro is a proud supporter of this initiative. We focus on energy conservation all year round and we implement a variety of measures at our buildings and facilities, including turning off non-essential lighting during evenings and weekends.

We encourage you to join us and to do your part to save energy and help the environment.  Small steps can make a collective difference. Going off the grid doesn’t have to be boring. Hydro’s Energy Efficiency Team has compiled ten entertaining things to do this Saturday night – all without using a watt of energy.

1. Have a picnic by candlelight (or LED candles) on your dining room table.

2. Invite friends over for a night of board games by candlelight (or LED candles).  Scrabble anyone?

3. Go for a stroll or run around your neighbourhood.

4. Find you inner Zen and mediate or do yoga by candlelight (or LED candles).

5. Tell scary stories with your kids under a flashlight.

6. Curl up with that book you have been meaning to read.

7. Use the opportunity to talk to your kids about why conserving energy is important (while making shadow puppets!).

8. Catch up on your sleep—go to bed really early.

9. Have a really good conversation with someone who is usually glued to their iPhone or Blackberry.

10. Play the guitar and have an old fashioned sing-a-long with your family.

*Please be extra careful if you use candles  – LED battery candles are a safer option.

We would love to know what you are planning to do during Earth Hour. Send any creative ideas our way through twitter @takeCHARGENL or on Facebook a

For more information about Earth Hour 2015, visit or

To learn more about energy conservation year-round, check out for tips and rebate programs to save money here in Newfoundland and Labrador.

  • March 27, 2015

Keeping safety top of mind this winter

By Rick Kennedy, Manager of Transmission and Rural Operations, Labrador Region

In Happy Valley – Goose Bay and surrounding area, we have seen a large amount of snow accumulate over the past few weeks. While the snow has created an opportunity for friends and families to get out and enjoy winter recreational activities, I’d like to remind people in the area to keep safety top of mind.

Remember to always use extra caution when snowmobiling near power lines. We install guy guards on all our power lines, and with so much snow in the area, some of these guy guards may be hidden.

Our crews are working hard to mark any wires covered in snow and we appreciate the effort of snowmobilers to exercise extra caution. In fact, we encourage recreational snowmobilers to avoid power line right of ways altogether because of the risks involved.

We also advise snow clearing operators to avoid pushing snow banks close to power lines, and to remove snow that has been already been piled near power lines. This creates a safety hazard for children who may climb the snow banks and easily reach the power lines. There is also a potential for snow clearing equipment to come into contact with power lines. Contact with electricity is extremely dangerous and can cause serious injury or death.

All members of the public are asked to remind the children in their lives about the dangers of playing near power lines, and encourage them to play safe in this winter.

We encourage the public to call Hydro at 1.888.737.1296 to report any safety concerns this winter, or any time throughout the year.

For more information about electrical and recreational safety, please visit

  • February 26, 2015

Staying safe this holiday season

Christmas is a time for family, food, celebration and lights. It’s also a time for indulgence and relaxing in the warmth of the season. Most of us are aware of the risks associated with eating too much turkey, but not enough of us think about the dangers associated with the unsafe use of electricity in decorating our homes and yards this time of year.

Here are a few tips to keep you and yours safe over the holiday season:

  • Use only Christmas lights that are approved for use in Canada.
  • Always inspect for frayed wires, broken sockets or loose connections before you start your decorating. Discard damaged sets as they can cause shocks or start a fire.10392418_760073507363452_8217429406778007682_nv2
  • Replace burned out light bulbs with bulbs of the correct wattage, as stated on the packaging. An incorrectly sized bulb can create over-heating in the socket and cause a fire.
  • Use only outdoor rated lights for exterior applications as they are designed for our wet winter conditions. The packaging should state whether lights can be used indoor, outdoors or both.
  • To save on energy consumption, consider replacing the traditional, larger, old style light bulb-strings with cooler burning, energy efficient LED lights.
  • To eliminate dangling or trailing extension cords, install additional soffit receptacles or strategically placed receptacles in landscaping.
  • Always stay at least 3 meters (10 feet) clear of all power lines or feeder lines (the wires connecting the power from the electrical pole to your home) when decorating exterior locations around the house and yard.
  • Only use a wooden or fiberglass ladder when working with live electrical circuits, as metal ladders conduct electricity and therefore pose a threat of electrocution. Leave all light strings unplugged until installation is complete.
  • Never use nails, tacks or staples to attach the string sets to any surface. Use plastic or insulated holders, or run strings through hooks instead.
  • Use extension cords properly. Outdoor rated cords can be used either outdoors or indoors but indoor rated cords are restricted for indoor use only.
  • Use a properly sized extension cord for the electrical load it is required to carry, as an overloaded extension cord can get hot enough to burn.
  • Never run extension cords under carpets or rugs and always uncoil a cord that is in use to prevent possible overheating.
  • There is often a tendency to overload wall outlets during the holiday season. This is an unsafe practice and should be avoided even for short periods of time. Here is a simple formula to determine how many lights you can safely string together. Find out the wattage of each bulb on the string (the packaging should have this information) and multiply it by the number of lights strung together. The resulting number should not exceed 1400.
  • Turn off all Christmas lights before leaving your house or going to bed.

Please keep these tips in mind as you deck your halls this year.

Let’s make this Holiday Season a safe one.


  • December 19, 2014

Outage 101: the different types and how we respond

There are both planned and unplanned outages – and the impact can vary depending on where (and why) the outage originated on the provincial electricity system.

Our grid is comprised of a complex network of power generation, transmission systems, and distribution systems. In a nutshell, generators produce electricity in a variety of ways, transmitters move power across long distances to where it is needed, and distributors deliver electricity to homes and businesses.

For the most part, distribution related outages (outages in your local area) are smaller and don’t involve large numbers of customers. They are also often resolved quickly depending on the cause.

Most often, local distribution outages are caused by damaged or downed power lines which are restored by your local electricity provider. In our province there are two service providers or electrical utilities – Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro and Newfoundland Power. If you take a look at the map, Hydro proviWho is Your Service Providerdes power directly to homes and businesses on the Great Northern Peninsula, small coastal isolated communities and all of Labrador. Newfoundland Power owns and manages the distribution system on the Avalon Peninsula, Burin Peninsula and other urban centres on the island of Newfoundland. NF Power is the primary distributor of power right into your home or your business and serves about 85% of all electricity customers in the province.

Hydro is the primary generator of electricity in Newfoundland and Labrador (we sell electricity to NF Power who distributes it across its own distribution network – smaller poles, wires and substations). We also own and operate the majority of the bulk high voltage transmission system in Newfoundland and Labrador (over 3,700 km of transmission lines). If there is a generation supply issue or if damage occurs on a large generator or a large transmission line, the potential impact on customers is broader and may result in a larger, more widespread power outage.

Both utilities also have routine “planned” outages. These are outages that are purposely implemented to do maintenance or routine repair work on the system and usually take place over the summer or fall months. Planned outages are “planned” generally during times when it will be less disruptive to customers. Sometimes this isn’t possible but that is our goal always – to have the least impact on customers and do the work safely.

Many people assume that an unplanned – or an unexpected – outage is caused by equipment failure or a lack of power generation when, in actuality, in most cases it is an isolated event on the distribution system caused by a weather event, such as a winter storm, freezing rain, high wind or lightning.

So, here’s what happens on our end during unplanned outages:

Local Distribution Outages

The distribution system is the final stage in the delivery of power – it carries electricity from the transmission system across lower voltage lines and poles to individual homes and businesses. Local outages are most often caused by downed power lines or damaged equipment during bad weather.

Depending on the service area, either Hydro or NF Power will have crews dispatched to resolve the issue. At Hydro, we first learn about a power outage in one of our service areas when someone contacts our Customer Service Centre or calls Hydro’s 24‐hour toll‐free power outage and emergency number. In the case of impending severe weather, crews are on standby under our storm preparedness and emergency response protocols.

Once information is received, it is then provided to regional teams to address the issue. A front line supervisor will dispatch crews to the area to investigate.

The crew that responds to the outage is responsible for completing the restoration in a safe manner and provides regular progress updates to our Customer Service Centre and Hydro’s Energy Control Centre.

We may receive many calls during an outage caused by a full-force storm or blizzard and they are addressed in priority sequence:

  • Our first priority is to respond to 911 emergencies like fires or energized or live lines that are down.
  • 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 means some homes may be without power while others around them have power. The goal is to bring power back to as many customers at a time as is possible.

System Operations

Hydro’s Energy Control Centre in St. John’s is the heart of the electrical system. This is where highly trained System Operators monitor and control the provincial power grid 24 hours per day, seven days per week, to maintain sufficient generation supply and a secure transmission network.

The operators ensure that contingency plans are in place and reserve or additional power is available to meet the province’s electricity needs during periods of high demand and when severe cold weather puts additional pressures on generation supply.

During an electricity supply shortage, operators follow a detailed set of procedures to balance supply and demand and ensure reliability of the overall system. It is very rare that public conservation requests and rotating outages would be necessary. In fact, the first time Hydro implemented such extensive measures was last January.

When there is transmission system trouble, the system operators are alerted by its computer system – the Energy Management System (EMS) – which will show where the issue originated. Based on their assessment, the ECC will either start the transmission system restoration process or dispatch field personnel to the affected station or area to investigate.

At the same time, Hydro’s outage communication protocol is followed to ensure customers and stakeholders are kept up to date with timely and accurate information. Please see our recent blog on our commitment to keeping the public notified in the event there are generation supply issues which may affect customers.

For customer concerns or to report an outage on Hydro’s system at any time – you can call -1-888-737-1266.

  • December 17, 2014

New Electricity System Notifications – A commitment to our customers

By Dawn Dalley
VP Corporate Relations & Customer Service

Hydro is the primary generator of the power in the province and we are heading towards the time of year when demand is at its highest. Our team has been working around the clock to get prepared and we fully anticipate that we will have enough energy to meet customer’s needs this winter.

Our existing generation equipment is in good shape and, if needed, we have extra energy reserves to meet peak demand during cold snaps. We are not predicting significant challenges in terms of available power.

That said, Hydro and our partner utility, Newfoundland Power, listened to what our customers had to say following last January’s events. Customers told us they needed more information, with specific details on what they needed to do.

So, together we have developed a protocol to provide advance notifications in the unlikely event there are system supply issues. This is one part of a larger effort to keep you, our customers, better informed about the inner workings of the provincial electricity grid.

In this case, we want to ensure that you receive timely information about generation problems so that you can prepare safely for potential system outages – and also so that you can help us get things get back on track by conserving energy.

Our electricity system notifications will alert customers in advance of a potential shortage of power availability.  There are three levels of notifications and customers will be provided specific information at each level on the status of the system and the steps you should take.  This type of notification system is a precautionary measure and has been implemented by many other utilities across North America.

Here’s how it works:

Level One: Power Watch

The first level of notification will be an update that Hydro is watching the system closely as demand is expected to be near generation capability, but no immediate action is required.

Level Two: Power Warning

At the second level, we will indicate energy levels are getting close to maximum demand and we will ask homeowners and businesses to conserve power.

Level Three: Power Emergency

The third tier will be implemented if Hydro experiences a power shortage resulting in a need for rotating outages (this is also called load shedding). This would involve another public call for conservation.

Island Electricity System NotificationDuring a call for conservation, there are a number of things that you can do to help, such as reducing heat, reducing the use of your appliances, and turning off lighting – especially during peak times for energy use (7-10 am and 4 -8 pm).

To find out more about how Hydro is getting winter ready, visit

  • December 5, 2014

Winter readiness and our commitment to keeping you informed

By Scott Crosbie
Chief Operating Officer, Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro

Like you, all employees at Hydro are focused on getting ready for winter. We have been working under an aggressive schedule all year and a great deal of work has been completed on the province’s electricity system. As a result, we are in a very solid position as we head into the colder months.

Provincial Transmission Grid 10x6.5-PPT Slides Nov27 1215

Planned and preventative maintenance, upgrades and testing on all existing generation equipment have been completed or are in the final stages. This includes major capital work on the Hardwoods and Stephenville gas turbines and the Holyrood plant, as well as work on hydroelectric plants in locations such as Bay d’Espoir, Cat Arm and Hinds Lake.

Our customer demand or load forecasting (how much electricity customers will use this winter) shows that we are well prepared to meet winter peak demand in terms of power supply with our existing generation units. Our generation reserve margins, or the amount of additional generation we have available, are strong and we will be tracking these reserves 24 hours a day.

Along with the work we have done on the existing provincial electricity system, we have taken two additional steps to add more generation for this winter.

First, to help during peak usage times, we have also secured something we call a capacity assistance arrangement with our large industrial customer, Corner Brook Pulp and Paper, to make additional power available if needed.

And, second, we are installing a new 120 MW combustion turbine plant that will provide additional generation reserve for the system. That installation, which we were working on a compressed schedule is going well and we will keep you up to date when it is available. Our teams are focused on completing the plant in a timely manner but are also focused on doing it safely and ensuring we have a reliable generating plant. In the meantime, let me reassure you that we are able to meet the forecast electricity usage.

From a transmission perspective –another important component of the electricity grid – we have completed extensive preventative and corrective work on our network of transmission lines across Newfoundland and Labrador, including large system transformers in Sunnyside and Oxen Pond terminal stations on the Avalon.

Lastly, you’ll be hearing from the Hydro team regularly and more often during the upcoming winter. I want to assure you that every person at Hydro is committed to ensuring you have a safe and reliable electricity supply this winter. Our crews have been working hard this year and our focus is you – our customers. We are committed to providing updates and information though various channels – this blog, direct mail, traditional media, and our social media channels – twitter (@NLHydro) and Facebook ( We know there is a lot of interest and we want to keep you informed on the status of the electricity system. And if you have questions for us, please send us an email at or contact us by phone at 1-888-737-1296.

For more details on Hydro’s winter readiness plans, view our most recent public presentation here.



  • November 28, 2014

Combustion Turbine – Top Ten Questions

Media Site Tour of CT

Media Site Tour of CT

There has been a lot of interest and questions lately about the combustion turbine (CT) and its installation in Holyrood. Understandably so –  the CT is a key component of our generation planning and our overall winter readiness strategy.

Here are our responses to our top ten most frequently asked questions about the CT:

1. What will the CT do? It will add 120 MW (nominal) of peaking generation capacity. It will be used to provide power generation during high demand periods and emergency purposes. It will not be used for base power generation.
2. How often will the CT be in service? It is expected to operate infrequently – less than 500 hours per year.
3. Did Hydro do an environmental assessment?
Hydro completed the provincial environmental assessment  process and undertook emission dispersion modeling. The CT meets and exceeds all environmental standards and there will be no exceedance of ambient air standard.
4. What is meant by “new unused”?
The unit is “new unused” meaning it was not used or every installed. It has been stored since 2008 in accordance with OEM (original equipment manufacturer’s) standards.
5. What was the inspection process?
The CT was inspected by a third party independent engineer who has expertise in condition assessments of gas turbines. All maintenance records were reviewed and Hydro engineers also travelled to the US to view the turbine and the Contractor’s facilities.
6. What was the procurement process?
Hydro followed a rigorous and thorough procurement process under the Public Tender Act. Four proposals were submitted by vendors and were reviewed by Hydro’s procurement and legal team for commercial and technical compliance.
7. What is the cost of the CT?
The total cost of the project is approximately $119M. An EPC contract (engineering, procurement, construction) contract was awarded at $99M to supply, deliver and install the combustion turbine at the Holyrood plant. The remainder of the costs (outside the EPC contract) include transmission lines, terminal station interconnection, etc.
8. How will cost impact rates?
Capital investment does not immediately affect rates Impact on rates occurs when the projects are completed and Hydro applies to the PUB for the costs to be recovered. The anticipated impacts of the CT investment (1% – 2%) will be included in the revised general rate application.
9. Is the project on track?
The site excavation has been completed and the CT and all its major parts have been placed on foundations. The project is tracking on schedule and is targeted to be in-service by December.
10. Will the CT be used post Muskrat Falls? It will act as back up during transmission line contingencies.

For further info and to see recent presentation materials, please see here.
















  • September 30, 2014

Plan your landscaping around power lines

Summer is finally here and it’s wonderful to see people out tackling their gardens. But before planting new trees and shrubs around your house, take the time to think about the location of overhead power lines on your property.

It is crucial to consider the height and shape of the mature tree so that you won’t have a problem once it has grown. Some species grow at a rapid rate and can directly interfere with overhead lines.  Planting the wrong tree can create serious hazards.

After all, trees are good conductors of electricity. When they grow too close or fall into power lines, trees can cause public safety risks such as electrocution, fire and power outages.

To deliver safe, reliable electricity service, it is often necessary for utility workers to control the growth of trees that have grown too close to power lines.  If you plant your tree too close to power lines, it may have to be trimmed or removed later.

Furthermore, before you start digging, check for underground lines by calling Hydro or Newfoundland Power. A representative will drop by your home to locate the lines and mark the unsafe areas.

Here are the safety planting zones for overhead lines:

Low Zone: The low zone is the area directly under the power line and extends to 4.5 metres (15 feet) on either side. Trees and shrubs planted in this area should have a maximum mature height of 4.5 metres (15 feet) or less.

Medium Zone: The medium zone extends from the edge of the low zone to a distance of 7.6 metres (25 feet) on either side of the power line. The maximum mature height of trees planted in this zone should be 7.6 metres (25 feet).

Tall Zone: The tall zone is the area more than 7.6 metres (25 feet) from the power lines. Virtually any strong, healthy tree may be planted in this zone. TreeTrimmingGuide

Depending on your service area, call Hydro at 1.888.737.1296 or Newfoundland Power at 1-800.663.2802 if you have questions or concerns about vegetation near power lines or if you notice a tree that could be a potential hazard.

Visit for more information on working safely around power lines.

  • June 19, 2014
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