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Underground fault causes power outage, booming noise in Newmarket

Increasing number of underground faults are occurring across town due to aging infrastructure, NT Power executive says
2021 08 12 NT Power
Newmarket Tay Power Distribution.

Newmarket-Tay Power said a loud noise and outage in the Wayne Drive area Tuesday night was caused by an underground wire fault.

Residents reported hearing what sounded like an explosion at approximately midnight Aug. 23 around Leslie Street and Davis Drive, as well as surrounding areas. At the same time, NT Power reported an outage impacting 60 customers on Wayne Drive, Eastman Crescent and Lowe Boulevard.

NT Power vice-president of engineering and operations Alex Braletic said the loud noise heard was the system operating appropriately, with the fuse blowing where the underground fault happened. This helps ensure that the power outage does not spread to more households.

“We design it and other utilities in such a manner to protect the largest volume of customers. The fault is being isolated by the equipment,” he said, adding the outage could have otherwise affected hundreds or thousands of customers. 

Power was restored approximately one hour after the outage, according to NT Power on social media.

The exact cause of the underground fault will take some weeks to determine, Braletic said. But he added that underground faults like this tend to be caused by water damage, tree growth, or wear and tear.

The utility is in proactive stages of replacing equipment throughout Newmarket, Braletic said.

Although the power loss was limited, multiple residents reported the noise and lights flickering.

"That was so loud," one Newmarket resident said in a local Facebook group. "Our power just flickered and is back on."

Underground faults can happen but are much less common than overhead damage due to storms and other weather conditions, Braletic added.

“Overall, in Newmarket, we are seeing a slight increase in underground faults, and that is due to aging infrastructure. I will say in terms of our outage response the majority, a large majority, are due to overhead issues.” 

Information on outages is available on the NT Power website as they happen. You can report an outage by calling 1-888-735-4801.