Over 100 PLTs headed to Lake Cowichan area for one day of power line upgrades

Image of line crew gathered for a one-day repair work in the Lake Cowichan area
Power line technicians brought in from around B.C. gather in preparation for a day of upgrades to a power line that serves Lake Cowichan, Mesachie Lake, Youbou and Honeymoon Bay on Vancouver Island.

Upgrades will prevent future outages, thanks to all-out effort

This story was updated on June 27.

Customers in the Lake Cowichan area were without power on Sunday, June 26 from around 8 a.m. to around 7 p.m. But it all happened for a good reason: to prevent more outages in the future.

Throughout the area, the single transmission line that feeds the region is in need of major upgrades. To keep crews and the public safe while work is taking place, the work could only be done during an outage.

And because the area is at the end of a transmission line, there was no way to feed the communities from another line. That's why it required an outage to Lake Cowichan, Mesachie Lake, Youbou and Honeymoon Bay.

Crews came from across the province to complete the upgrades, which will help ensure outages like this don't happen too often.

Crews from across the province were coordinated to complete work

One option for completing upgrades across the area would have been shorter outages, over the next several months. While the work was being completed, the region would be at risk for longer outages if equipment failed.

Instead, we pulled together crews from across B.C. to get all the work done at once. It meant for a long day for our customers, but working in daylight for as long as possible meant that power line technicians and other staff could work safely. And that means more reliable power for everyone.

Over 100 power line technicians were involved, from across Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland, and even crews from Vernon and Cranbrook in the Interior. They were joined by mechanics, first aid attendants, traffic and warehouse personnel to ensure everything went smoothly.

And what were they doing?

Replacing aging equipment on transmission and distribution lines, changing out glass insulators, and repairing cross-arms on power poles.

By the numbers:

  • 132 structures (poles and towers) underwent various repairs
  • 264 wooden cross arms were replaced
  • 396 conductor insulators were changed
  • 17 poles were replaced

Work was conducted with 120 power line technicians, 30 bucket trucks, 12 line trucks and 30 pickup trucks.

At the end of the day, what it means for everyone in the Lake Cowichan area is a more reliable, safer power system.

Image of a line crew doing maintenance repairs on a power line
Work included various repairs to poles and towers, including the replacement of 160 wooden cross arms.

Thanks to the community for their patience

Preparing your home or business for an 11-hour outage isn't easy or convenient. A big thank you goes out to all our customers for your patience while we got these repairs done.

See our Twitter channel @bchydro for more photos of the work done on Sunday.