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Blackouts close Newfoundland schools

Thousands of people in Newfoundland continue to be without power as the island enters its fourth day of rolling blackouts to conserve energy and crews work to restore electricity.

All schools throughout the island, including Memorial University and the College of the North Atlantic, have been shut down until Wednesday as a result of the power shortages.

Michele Coughlan, a spokeswoman with Newfoundland Power, said about 30,000 customers were without electricity as of 8:30 a.m. local time today after a power plant went offline in the latest energy problem to hit the province in recent days.

An official with Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro says there was a flash in the switch yard at the Holyrood plant Sunday, but there was no issue with the plant or the generating units, and no one was injured.

Crews were trying to determine what caused the problem at the plant, located about 50 kilometres southwest of St. John's.

On Saturday, a fire broke out at terminal station after a transformer malfunction, causing further power interruptions.

The malfunction, the cause of which is not yet known, came after rotating blackouts were implemented Thursday as utilities struggled with increased demand because of cold temperatures.

At the peak of the outages Saturday morning, about 190,000 customers were without power.

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