BC Hydro releases update on storm damage, extended outages expected

Dec 22 2018, 10:14 pm

BC Hydro has released an update regarding damage repair after a historic windstorm on Thursday, December 20, that left hundreds of thousands in the province without power.

The bulletin explained that due to the extent of the damage some of the hardest hit areas will experience extended outages.

Around 600,000 customers were initially impacted by the storm (the worst BC Hydro has seen in 20 years), but there are still 66,000 without power and it will likely remain that way for a couple of days.

Some of the worst hit areas include Duncan, Nanaimo, Lake Cowichan, and the affected Gulf Islands. BC Hydro has not been able to complete a full damage assessment in these places due to hundreds of downed trees, which have left some roads impassable.

BC Hydro also says that in some rural parts of Surrey and the Fraser Valley it may take another 24 to 48 hours to restore power completely.

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Crews have been working tirelessly since the initial storm hit, BC Hydro was able to restore power to nearly 90 percent of impacted customers in the first 48 hours after the storm.

According to BC Hydro, there are more than 800 field personnel working hard to repair 1,100 spans of wire, 300 power poles, 550 cross-arms, and 170 transformers that were destroyed in the storm.

Due to the extensive damage, there are hundreds of individual outages that crews must attend to individually to make complicated and lengthy repairs. BC Hydro reminds us that it can take up to eight hours just to replace a damaged power pole, technically considered a “mini construction job”.

“I know any power outage is an inconvenience and can present challenges – and even more so at this time of year. On behalf of BC Hydro, I would like to thank our customers for their continued patience,” said Chris O’Riley, BC Hydro’s President and Chief Operating Officer. “We are doing everything we can to get all of our customers back on and our crews will work around-the-clock until we have every last customer connected.”

Updated estimates for power restoration are posted as they become available online.

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