Yes, clocks are running fast

Simple electric clocks will pick up some time while workers from BC Hydro conduct maintenance on the power lines

  • Aug. 8, 2014 5:00 a.m.

If you’ve noticed some clocks running fast this week, you’re not in a time warp or going crazy.

The northwest has been taken off the usual BC Hydro electricity grid for 10 to 12 hours a day so maintenance can be done on the 500kV power lines from Prince George to Terrace.

While workers are doing this maintenance, the northwest gets its power from Rio Tinto Alcan, which runs on a faster frequency, says BC Hydro spokesperson Bob Gammer.

The frequency runs on 60 hertz at BC Hydro but the Rio Tinto frequency is 60.3 hertz, which is just enough to make electric clocks show a difference of 18 seconds per hour, he said.

Yes, clocks are running a few minutes fast. It’s not every clock, it’s just those simple electric clocks that are plugged into the wall so they are running a few minutes fast per day while we have islanded the northwest from the rest of the B.C. grid,” said Gammer.

Maintenance goes on for 10 to 12 hours a day and when workers are done for the day, the regular lines are switched back on.

Simple clocks that are affected have to be reset back to the correct time.

More modern clocks can somehow pick up on the time difference and correct themselves, he added.

The clock on your TV probably shows the correct time because it’s attached to [the cable company],” said Gammer.

Workers will finish up one more hour of maintenance today, Aug. 8, and then the northwest will go back on the normal BC Hydro grid.