BC Hydro crews continue to repair damage after historic windstorm, extended outages expected
Updated December 28, 2018
Thursday’s windstorm was one of the most devastating storms BC Hydro has experienced in the past 20 years, leaving 34,000 still without power down from a total of 600,000 customers initially impacted. Due to the extent of the damage, some of the hardest hit areas will be without power for several more days.
Hundreds of downed trees have left some roads impassable, which means BC Hydro has not been able to complete a full damage assessment in some of the worse hit areas like Duncan, Nanaimo, Lake Cowichan and the affected Gulf Islands. As a result, it will take crews several days to restore power to these areas, and other areas may be added as damage assessments are completed. In some rural parts of Surrey and the Fraser Valley, it may take another 24 to 48 hours to restore power.
The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure is working to clear the roads and highways. The storm knocked trees and branches on to nearly all the roads on the southern Gulf Islands, as well as roads across Vancouver Island.
BC Hydro crews have been working around-the-clock since the storm hit, and will continue to do so until every customer has their power restored. In the first 48 hours, BC Hydro restored power to nearly 90 per cent of impacted customers.
There are currently 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 is still a lot of work to do. There are hundreds of individual outages that crews must attend to individually to make complicated and lengthy repairs. For example, replacing a damaged power pole is considered a mini construction job and can take up to eight hours.
“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.”
BC Hydro recommends customers without power for an extended period of time should:
Have a fully stocked emergency kit: this should include a flashlight, extra batteries, first aid kit, bottled water, required medications, and non-perishable food.
Have a plan: check-in regularly with a friend or family member, also consider having regular check-ins with neighbours.
Practice food safety: a freezer that is fully packed will hold food safely for 48 hours. A freezer that is half full will hold food safely for up to 24 hours.
Use generators safely: home generators can be useful during a power outage, but they can also be very dangerous if they are not used properly. Never use a portable generator, outdoor or charcoal barbecues indoors, and do not store fuel indoors.
BC Hydro appreciates its customers’ continued patience as it works to work through repairs. Updated estimates for power restoration are posted as they become available at bchydro.com/outages.
Vancouver Island and Gulf Islands
Expected power status for noon on Saturday, December 29