Stories & Features

Wild winter: Record power use, snow, ice and outages

Ruskin Dam coated in thick winter ice
BC Hydro contractor Tio Zeviar was working on the generator refurbishment project at Ruskin Dam near Mission when he took this amazing shot of the entry to the bridge leading to the generating station in January. We're nearing completion of $748 million in upgrades to the dam and powerhouse, including seismic upgrades.

Our power line crews and hard-hit customers thankful winter's over

This story was updated on June 5, 2017.

It all began with two months of seemingly neverending rain, complete with full-to-the-brim Vancouver Island reservoirs and some flooding in Island communities. And then it got seriously Canadian, even in normally mild Vancouver. Sub-zero temperatures. Snow. Even pond hockey in Lotusland.

By early January, southwest B.C. was in its longest cold snap in 33 years and B.C. set an all-time record for one-hour electricity demand. By February, we were hammered by another storm, this one including the rather foreign concept of freezing rain, and BC Hydro crews came from all over B.C. to help restore more than 360,000 customers over a six-day period.

It was a wild winter. And let's hope – especially for those of you who suffered through extended or repeated power outages, and our overworked power line crews – that next winter is kinder.

The good news for those of us who faced higher than normal electricity bills this past winter is that we were able to apply for a delay in payment of those winter bills through  our Winter Payment Plan.

Here's a quick look back, in images, of a winter we won't soon forget.

BC Hydro community relations manager Dag Sharman caught his two boys and a friend in a magical moment during a pond hockey skating session on a frozen Kalamalka Lake at Vernon. Show caption
BC Hydro's Cheryl Currie took this image of a frozen tree  at Holland Park in Surrey after freezing rain hit the Fraser Valley in February. Show caption
Snow and chilly conditions weren’t enough to stop first-year Power Line Technician apprentices at our Trades Training Centre in Surrey. Show caption
BC Hydro crews worked in cold, windy conditions to repair power lines after the February storm that hammered  southwest B.C. and closed both major highways to the Interior. Show caption
It's been an amazing winter of skiing. BC Hydro's Graham Henderson got this photo during a day of back-country skiing at Cayoosh Mountain near Pemberton. Show caption