There’s a reason why electric clocks are running faster these days. (Black Press file)

There’s a reason why electric clocks are running faster these days. (Black Press file)

Power switch causing northwest B.C. clocks to run faster

Rio Tinto power being used until July 16

If you’ve been wondering why your electric clocks have been running faster this past week, wonder no more.

BC Hydro has taken a portion of its main line between its substation at Hungry Hill just east of Telkwa and its Skeena Substation south of Terrace out of service for maintenance.

With that main line power supply interrupted, BC Hydro then feeds power from Rio Tinto’s Kemano generators into the grid servicing the northwest.

But because Rio Tinto’s power has a faster hertz, or cycle rate, than does BC Hydro’s power, clocks using electrical power also run faster, says BC Hydro official Bob Gammer.

“Rio Tinto power runs at 60.3 hertz and our power at 60 hertz,” said Gammer.

“So even that bit, .5 per cent, can make a difference and in this case that’s 18 seconds an hour or over the course of a day, seven minutes.”

The switch over took place July 7 and is to end July 16 when the maintenance has been completed.

Clock applications in computers, smartphones or other devices tied into the internet are not affected as they take their times from the internet through satellite-based calculations.