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More storms lead to significant increase of downed power lines in B.C.

VANCOUVER: As meteorologists predict more stormy weather is on the way, a recent survey commissioned by BC Hydro found that most British Columbians do not know what to do if they encounter a downed power line.

The survey found one-third of British Columbians have encountered a down or damaged power line; however, many are not aware they could be putting themselves and others at serious risk:

  • Nearly 60 per cent do not know to report a down or damaged power line to 9-1-1.
  • Thirty-five per cent incorrectly think a live power line makes a buzzing sound, sparks or smokes – or are simply unsure how to tell if a wire is live.
  • About 25 per cent do not know how far to stay away from a down or damaged power line.

This is of particular concern because a new report released by BC Hydro last month found that storms are increasing in severity and frequency in B.C. As a result, the number of downed power lines have also increased by nearly 65 per cent in the past five years.

BC Hydro crews responded to around 6,100 reports of downed or damaged power lines in 2013. That number increased to nearly 10,000 in 2017. The chances of encountering a downed line are much higher in the fall and winter months as strong wind, heavy rain and snow cause trees and branches to knock down electrical infrastructure.

BC Hydro wants to remind the public that if they come across a downed or damaged power line, they should:

  • Stay back at least 10 metres (33 feet) – about the length of a city bus.
  • Dial 9-1-1 and let the dispatcher know a power line has fallen or is damaged.
  • Keep others in the vicinity at least a bus-length away until BC Hydro crews and first responders arrive on scene to make the area safe.

For more tips on how to stay safe during storm season, visit

BC Hydro Media Relations
604 928 6468