Prince Rupert time warp explained

Alarm clocks in the morning have been waking people up to an hour earlier, or more unfortunately, later than they should.

Prince Rupert clocks were a tad wonky last week after a city-wide power outage hit the area.

Prince Rupert clocks were a tad wonky last week after a city-wide power outage hit the area.

No, it’s not a rip in the space-time continuum, Rupertites.

You’re also not re-living your own Twilight Zone episode.

Alarm clocks in the morning have been waking people up to an hour earlier, or more unfortunately, later than they should.

Digital and analog clocks tied to electrical outlets and not satellites, have been telling the wrong time day after day and it’s thanks to BC Hydro’s use of Prince Rupert’s Gas Plant power generator after a city wide power outage in mid-November, that people have been arriving to work 20 minutes early — or late.

“I shut [my clock off]. Why stress out over that? I just let mine go. I don’t even bother anymore, I got so mad at it,” laughed Rupert resident Mary Lorello last week, adding that she started seeing a change in her times on Tuesday, Nov. 17 – the day following a city-wide power outage in Prince Rupert, Port Edward and the area.

“It kept being late so I just let it go [instead of repeatedly fixing it].”

BC Hydro’s Dave Mosure explained the phenomenon that led to the wonky clocks last week.

“The normal BC Hydro power grid operates at a frequency of 60 Hertz and is very stable due to its vast size. When an area is islanded and no longer part of the larger grid, there can be minor variation in the operating Hertz and the system can operate just over or under 60 Hertz, but well within our operating standards,” explained Mosure.

“The variation does not damage electronics and billing meters are unaffected, but it will cause electro-mechanical clocks to run faster or slower as they use the line frequency as their time reference.

“We recognize and apologize for this inconvenience. At the same time we are thankful for the Rupert Gas Plant being able to supply the city of Prince Rupert through the time it has taken to effect repairs to the damaged transmission lines,” Mosure continued.

Work was completed on the two downed transmission lines, including the main 287-kilovolt line by 4 p.m. last Thursday afternoon, ensuring Rupert’s wonky clocks could return to their reliable time-telling ways.

“Thank you everyone for your patience and understanding while we worked to repair the damage these landslides caused,” said Mosure.


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