With just about a million people needing to turn on lights in this province, SaskPower has a big responsibility to ensure electricity gets to your home or workplace.
But who is in control of all that power and what happens when the lights go out?
The answer is inside SaskPower’s grid control centre, a hub for all the province’s power needs. The people who work here react to storms, blackouts and other major events.
SaskPower recently invited the media to tour the facility to give you a better idea of how the system works.
For security reasons, at the request of SaskPower, we are unable to share where the grid control centre is located or the names of the people who work there.
It is kept a secret to minimize the risk of an attack which could wipe out the entire Saskatchewan grid if such a thing were ever to happen.
One of the managers gave the tour and spoke to reporters but cannot be named for security reasons.
“If you ever wanted to do any harm, this would be a good place to aim your energy toward,” he said.
Staff members require two pieces of ID and you can only enter the control centre by scanning fingerprints. The building has 15″ thick walls designed to withstand plough winds and even an F4 tornado. It has its own electrical system to keeping it running for two days after a major disaster to ensure lights stay on for everyone else.
Eight giant screens allow staff to monitor distribution, capacity loads, potential problem areas on the grid, and weather patterns to brace for places that may be in the path of a storm.
“It is exciting type of work and it is a great responsibility,” the manager explained. “There’s over a million people that rely on what we do here and there is just no compromise.”
The last major province-wide blackout was back in 1981.