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How we provide safe, reliable electricity and natural gas to our customers

Manitobans rely on us to brighten their days and warm their nights, but how that energy gets to you is complex.

We produce electricity at our generating stations and bring it to you through a network of transmission and distribution power lines that crisscross the province. We bring natural gas from outside Manitoba and deliver it to you through a series of underground pipelines. The scope of our electric grid and natural gas system – and in some cases, how old it is – means sometimes, things go wrong. The flow of that energy to you is temporarily interrupted.

What we’re doing to prevent outages

From replacing older system parts and upgrading technologies to installing animal guards and trimming trees, we actively monitor our system and make proactive improvements to ensure sure we limit outages for our customers.

Some of the things we’re doing include:

  • Replacing older parts of our system
  • Removing ice on power lines before it causes problems
  • Installing animal guards on equipment where there’s been outages due to wildlife contacts
  • Trimming trees in areas to reduce the number of branches contacting lines
  • Fireproofing;
  • Maintaining or rehabilitating old equipment
  • Public safety programs and campaigns for farmers and customers who use large and heavy motor vehicles
  • Upgrading and expanding to serve new customers or meet expanding needs of current customers

We always appreciate a heads-up if you see something unsafe or you think might be causing a power outage. If you see downed lines, or sparking or burning equipment, stay at least 10 metres away and call 911.

What causes a power outage?

Sometimes things happen that are out of our control. If you’re curious about why outages happen, here’s a breakdown of things that could affect our system’s reliability.

Bad weather, lightning, tree contacts (33%):

  • high winds that bring down trees and branches and cause them to contact power lines
  • lightning hitting power lines or other equipment
  • heavy snow or ice on power lines can cause them to break
  • wood pole or structure fire

Equipment failure, adverse environment (33%):

  • downed power lines
  • a broken or fallen pole, or old infrastructure
  • faulted transformer, failed line fuse or a problem at a substation
  • equipment failure due to technical problems within the equipment or abnormal environmental conditions (fire, flood, corrosion)

Things contacting our power lines (15%):

  • animals can cause short circuits by contacting power lines or other equipment
  • birds landing on power lines or transformers can trip fuses
  • objects, such as shoes or kites, hanging from power lines
  • vehicle collisions with power lines, poles or other equipment
  • heavy equipment, such as a crane at a construction site, coming into contact with a power line
  • cut underground wires by digging without proper line locations and clearances

What you can do to prepare

We do our best to prevent outages, but we can’t predict where animals may end up, lightning may strike or wind may gust. Here are some of the ways that you can help protect our system.

Since trees and vegetation are a major cause of outages, make sure you trim trees around our equipment.

If you’re planting anything near electrical infrastructure, we also have recommendations for the safest vegetation.

For other tips and tools to help you in the unfortunate case of an outage, visit our How to prepare for an outage page.