Outages & Emergencies

We're on the job day and night

Electrical emergencies and outages can happen for many reasons. You should be aware and prepared for these situations.

  • We encouage everyone to be self-sufficient for 72 hours to feel ready for a power outage. 
  • Keep an emergency kit handy in your home, business and car.
  • Do not approach downed power lines and stay at least 10 metres back.
  • And report any electrical emergency so we can help quickly and safely.

Is your power out?

In Kakisa, Dory Point, Fort Providence, Sambaa K’e, Wekweeti, Hay River, Enterprise and the K’at’lodeeche First Nation, call 867-874-6879 or 1-800-264-5313 (toll free) to report an outage.

In Yellowknife and N’Dilo, call 867-873-4865.

Be prepared

We encourage everyone to be self-sufficient for 72 hours. The Government of Canada's Get Prepared website has information on how you can stay ready for an outage, and what to keep handy in case you lose power for an extended period of time. 

Preparing for outages at home

  • Have back up lights

    Make sure you always know where your flashlights are. Can you find them in the dark? Check periodically to make sure they are working and you have extra batteries.

    The dark can be scary for young children. Prepare them by playing a "lights-out" game to find the flashlight.

    Keep candles and matches on hand. Remember, candles are romantic but potentially dangerous. Have solid, stable holders and be especially careful if there are children or pets around. Have a fire extinguisher (A-B-C type) on hand and know how to use it.

  • If the lights go off

    If the lights go off, determine whether it's really a power outage or a problem with your own breaker. Reach for your flashlight and check your main electric panel. A quick inspection can help determine whether one or more breaker switches may be turned ‘off’. Simply moving any tripped switches to the ‘off’ position and then to the ‘on’ position can restore power.

    If it's not a fuse or a breaker, check whether your neighbour's power is also out. Remember that power can sometimes be lost in a localized area. Houses that are served by the same pole-mounted power transformer will be dark, while houses next door are fully lit.

    If it is an outage, call Northland Utilities and report it. Sometimes it can be hard to get through because other customers are also reporting interruptions. Please be patient. It's likely we already know about the problem and are working to fix it.

  • Consider your heat sources

    Most furnaces will not operate without power to run the fan. However, the pilot light will remain on propane furnaces, and the furnace will resume operation as soon as power is restored.

    Most new propane fireplace models will function without power. Their fans won't work, but most throw off enough radiant heat to make a difference.

    Outdoor barbecues, kerosene heaters and camping heaters should never be used indoors because they emit carbon monoxide and can cause asphyxiation.

    If you have a properly-ventilated wood-burning fireplace, make sure you have a supply of wood on hand. But remember that many fireplaces are not designed to burn at high temperatures for long periods and may be a safety hazard. Many traditional fireplaces can draw more heat out of the house than they supply. Energy-efficient fireplaces and stoves are a better bet.

  • Have back up communications

    Cordless phones or extension phones that require connection to an electric outlet won't work during power outages. Models that plug directly into the phone jack will work.

    A battery radio lets you keep up with the news from the outside world. Make sure you have extra batteries. You could also use your car radio in an emergency, but do not run a vehicle in an enclosed garage.

  • Turn off your appliances

    There are three reasons to turn off any appliances you were using when the power went out.

    • Protecting your appliances: When power is restored, there is a risk that a surge of electrical energy that could damage sensitive equipment like computers, TVs or VCRs. Sensitive equipment and electronics should be unplugged during an outage and only plugged back in after power has been restored.
    • Safety: Appliances such as ovens or irons which may have been ‘on’ when power was lost can sometimes be forgotten about during an outage and become a serious safety hazard.
    • Helping Northland Utilities restore service: Re-starting appliances can take almost double the amount of energy than they normally use. Imagine the power demands placed on the electric system when every customer needs more power than they normally do --- all at the same time. When the power lines are re-energized, this demand can cause breakers to trip. It helps if you don't have all your appliances waiting to draw power the instant it is restored. 
  • Protect your plumbing

    Water in pipes or toilet bowls may freeze during a long cold-weather power outage. Some points to consider:

    • Your house will cool from the top down. This means that toilets and plumbing on upper floors are more vulnerable. If the outage is going to be a shorter one, leave a tap dripping slowly to keep water moving in the system.
    • If you are advised it will be a long outage, consider turning off your main water tap. First, fill containers with water for household use. Open all taps and flush toilets to clear water out of the system, and put RV-type antifreeze in the toilet and sink traps.
  • Stay warm

    If the outage is likely to be prolonged, and the weather is cold, prepare to stay warm as your house cools down.

    • Gather family members in a room with a fireplace or other safe source of heat.
    • Close blinds or drapes and avoid opening doors to keep heat from escaping.
    • Dress like you dress for winter – in layers. 
    • Remember that wrapping a newborn in a cold blanket will actually make the baby colder, not warmer. Warm the blanket first.
    • If the whole house cools down to match the outdoor temperature, your basement will become the warmest point. This is because it actually begins drawing heat from the subsoil.
  • Think safety

    You still need ventilation, especially if regular cold-air intake systems are not working. You may want to keep a window open slightly.

    Don’t run extension cords to the home of a neighbour who still has power because this may cause a fire due to overload.

Preparing for outages at a worksite

  • If the lights go out

    Turn off all high-energy equipment. Leave one light on so that you know when the power is restored.

    When power is restored, turn equipment back on over a 15-minute period, to protect your own equipment and help Northland Utilities resume service. This is because restarting equipment can take double the amount of electrical capacity it normally draws. When all this demand is placed on the power system it can cause a series of surges or voltage drops. These may cause protective switches to trip out and cause power to go off again.

  • Protect your computers

    Back up computer files frequently.

    Consider buying an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) for critical computers and other equipment. This provides temporary battery backup power to allow you to save data and turn the computer off safely without losing valuable information.

  • Check your back-up equipment

    Routinely check backup battery systems for security, lighting, phone and computer equipment to make sure they are fully functional.

    Make sure that emergency lighting systems are functional and are adequate for evacuating the building.

    If your elevators are connected to an alternate power supply, verify the maximum number of elevators that can run without overloading the generator.

  • Prepare your employees

    Review procedures in the case of an outage with employees, including:

    • Procedures for continuing or stopping work.
    • Security procedures.
    • Alternate evacuation routes if elevators are not working. 
  • Think about ventilation

    Adequate ventilation can become an important concern if power is out.

    Gas stoves in restaurants will continue to operate, but fans will be out of service. Inadequate ventilation can lead to a build up of carbon monoxide and other hazardous materials.
     
    When turning off equipment, make sure that air conditioning and ventilation systems for the elevator equipment room are not shut off, to prevent equipment from overheating.