Power outages still affecting several Saskatchewan communities

The lights are mostly back on in Saskatchewan, but power outages persisted on Wednesday, as crews are still working to stabilize the province’s power grid.

“There were some issues around Moose Jaw that are largely taken care of, except for one transmission line with some issues still. In the southeast, we’ve experienced an outage as well as some areas around Saskatoon,” said SaskPower spokesperson Jordan Jackle.

SaskPower said heavy frost weighing down power lines is to blame for the outage. Too many damaged power lines were not transmitting enough electricity to the province’s power stations, causing all three to shut down.

“We’re not totally out of the woods at this point. We need the sun to come out and start burning off some of that frost out there,” Jackle said.

It’s likely the largest power outage in the province since 1981; the blackout has affected about 200,000 customers, leading many of them to public spaces.

“We saw a much bigger reach this year than we did last year on a similar date. The food court was a big increase; people going out for lunch swung by the mall to grab a bite. It was pretty busy,” said Jesse Manastyrski of Southland Shopping Centre in Regina.

But for some, the experience wasn’t as positive.

Due to Tuesday’s power outage, Souls Harbour, a local shelter in Regina, was forced to shut down its kitchen and chose to close its doors for the night, saying the organization was not able to cook or keep the place warm, which required Souls Harbour to send people elsewhere.

“The dorm itself was full, which houses 40 people,” said Wayne McDonough, executive director of the Salvation Army Waterston Centre, of the facility.

McDonough said Salvation Army’s biggest challenge on Tuesday was providing food.

“All we could really do last night — because our kitchen was shut down and dark — was provide them with sandwiches and some of the basics,” McDonough said.

For now, SaskPower believes the worst is over, but the utility is still encouraging residents to limit their power consumption.

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