BC Hydro prepares for upcoming storm while clean up continues
VANCOUVER: BC Hydro is anticipating increased water inflow into its South Coast and Vancouver Island reservoirs and potential power outages this week as a result of the heavy rain and strong wind in the weather forecast.
“Last week’s storms caused record inflows into some of our reservoirs and power outages to more than 258,000 people in the province,” says Chris O’Riley, President and CEO, BC Hydro. “BC Hydro crews continue to assess the damage from the last week’s storms. Costs are expected be in the millions and we are gearing up for more extreme weather.”
The “atmospheric river” from November 13 to 15, that caused flooding and landslides in southern B.C., also caused significant inflows into reservoirs at BC Hydro facilities and increased inflows downstream of the facilities. The inflows in several basins were the highest on record for the storm period and triggered temporary flood alerts for people and businesses that could have been impacted by high river levels.
BC Hydro experts worked behind the scenes to manage reservoir levels and plan releases of water from reservoirs to reduce the magnitude and volume of downstream flows to help protect the public and property.
“Our experts operate the generation system on a 24/7 basis and were challenged by the inflows last week,” adds O’Riley. “This week, in some basins, we are already starting with very full reservoirs and are anticipating additional rainfall. In fact, our teams are proactively releasing water from some reservoirs to create space.”
Last week’s weather also caused power outages as heavy wind and landslides damaged some parts of BC Hydro’s system.
BC Hydro crews have restored power to all customers who were impacted by heavy wind last week – except for some customers who are still affected by evacuation orders. In those areas, BC Hydro is working closely with local authorities and safety agencies to confirm when power can be restored safely.
BC Hydro crews are continuing to rebuild infrastructure that was damaged by landslides and flooding. BC Hydro is working to replace transmission structures, power lines and wires in many areas of the province. For example, along the Highway 8 corridor BC Hydro crews need to replace 87 power poles and 14 transformers.
Heading into the next storm, BC Hydro is reminding the public to stay away from rivers with increased inflows, as flows can change rapidly. BC Hydro is also reminding the public to be prepared for power outages and to stay at least 10 metres away from fallen power lines. For more information, visit bchydro.com/getprepared.
BC Hydro Media Relations
p. 604 928 6468