Update: restoration continues; some customers will experience extended outages
Crews continue to work through the night to restore power following the major snowstorms and freezing rain experienced through the Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island and Gulf Islands over the past two days.
Since the initial snowstorm last night, 141,361 customers have been affected by outages, and all but just under 16,000 have now been restored, with new outages continuing to occur.
Hazardous conditions throughout the region are creating difficult access for our crews to assess the damage and bring in the equipment and vehicles needed to make repairs.
Extended outages for some regions
BC Hydro is advising customers in certain areas of Vancouver Island and the Gulf Island to be prepared for outages lasting an extended period of time. Up to 5,000 customers in the Lower Mainland, and 5,000 customers in the Vancouver Island and Gulf Islands region will be out of power overnight on Thursday.
It may take multiple days for BC Hydro to fully restore power to areas of the Cowichan Valley, Gulf Islands, northern Vancouver Island and parts of the Fraser Valley.
The successive snowfall events have resulted extensive damage to the distribution system in some areas.
We have reports of 100 spans of line down and needing replacement; multiple broken poles and we’re still receiving updates from crews on the damage as they find it in the field.
Heavy snow on trees and saturated ground is making it easier for trees to topple on to lines.
As crews make repairs to a section of line, they receive fresh report of another span of lines on the ground as a result of falling trees.
This is not a usual storm event. Unlike a wind event, the effects of this weather event are being felt on trees long after the storm has ended.
In addition to the damage we've already seen, strong winds are expected over the next 24 hours, particularly on Vancouver Island.
BC Hydro has brought in crews from other parts of the province to help with restoration and will continue to use all our resources to restore power.
We encourage all customers to always be prepared for an emergency, including having an emergency kit for 72 hours.
Customers facing an extended outage may wish to connect with emergency support services through their municipality or contact Emergency BC for support.
We'll continue to provide updates as restoration progresses and thank everyone for their patience.