As you have now heard on the news or through social media, the Calgary Fire Department’s investigation concluded that the fire on Saturday October 11, 2014 that caused an outage downtown started in the streetlight equipment located in the manhole.
Streetlight equipment is owned and managed by the City of Calgary. And downtown it shares space in manholes with ENMAX electrical equipment, while in other parts of the city it is located on streetlight poles.
Looking into the causes
ENMAX cooperated fully with the Calgary Fire Department’s investigation by providing data, access to the removed equipment, photos and other relevant information that had been requested.
We also did our own investigation, which independently determined that the fire started in the streetlight equipment, and progressed from there to ENMAX’s electrical wires and related equipment.
Reviewing our response and efforts to rebuild the system
After the fire was extinguished, it was clear based on the first-hand account from an ENMAX employee at the scene, that all of the ENMAX wires in the manhole had suffered catastrophic damage to the point where there was a need to completely remove them and rebuild this part of the ENMAX system.
This rebuild was extensive, involving the removal and replacement of approx. 3.2 km of cable, 750 high-voltage terminations and approximately 120 secondary voltage cable terminations, or splices.
This repair was completed faster than we originally estimated and we were extremely impressed by the safe and efficient manner in which our crews completed this work.
The City has informed ENMAX that it plans to undertake a program to replace relays and remove their streetlight equipment from the manholes.
ENMAX is supportive of these plans and will assist the City in any manner requested. ENMAX has and continues to undertake measures to ensure the safety and reliability of our system and equipment. We have always had a strong maintenance program and that will continue – now informed by this event.
In particular, ENMAX continues to inspect our wires and equipment in the manholes and any items of note are identified and addressed.
We, understand the importance to Calgarians of knowing you have a safe and reliable electricity system. We design, build, operate and maintain our system to deliver that reliability and have continued to perform in the top quartile in reliability across all electric utilities in Canada.
On behalf of the entire ENMAX team, we want to say, ‘thank you’ to our customers who were impacted by this outage for their patience, understanding and support as we worked day and night to safely restore power as quickly as possible.