BC Hydro preparing for major holiday ice storm
VANCOUVER: With snow and freezing rain in the forecast, BC Hydro is preparing for the possibility of significant damage to its system over the next few days, especially on the South Coast.
BC Hydro has been monitoring this weather system closely and is making all necessary preparations to restore power as quickly as possible should the lights go out. While snow is expected, the freezing rain in the forecast – especially for parts of the Fraser Valley and Vancouver Island – has the most potential to cause problems for the electrical system.
Ice build-up because of the freezing rain can encase trees and branches can cause them to become brittle and heavy, increasing the chances they will fall and come into contact with power lines or other electrical equipment. This has the potential to cause significant outages.
“BC Hydro has been preparing for this event all week and has taken the necessary steps to ensure its crews can respond as quickly and safely as possible,” said Susie Rieder, BC Hydro spokesperson. “All available BC Hydro crews, contractor crews, vegetation management crews and other support staff are on standby. However, road conditions are expected to be challenging – and visibility is expected to be poor at times – which may slow down the response times.”
This storm is the latest in what has become a near annual event in B.C., as holiday season storms are becoming more frequent and severe in recent years. In fact, a recent BC Hydro report finds there has been a 500 per cent increase in customers affected by a winter holiday season storm (mid-December-mid-January) over the past five years.
BC Hydro is prepared for this upcoming storm, and it is encouraging customers to prepare as well. Customers can prepare now in the following ways:
- Having a well stocked emergency kit with water, flashlight, batteries, and non-perishable goods to last at least 72 hours, as well as a plan in place for your family in the vent of an extended outage.
- Remembering the 10-metre rule: A downed line is an emergency, stay 10 metres back (about the length of a bus) and dial 9-1-1.
- Keeping in mind MVA safety: Icy Road conditions also increase the potential for motor vehicle accidents involving electrical equipment. In the event of a motor vehicle accident involving electrical equipment, if it is determined safe, drivers should drive out from under the power line and away from the source of electricity. Drivers should travel at least 10 meters – the length of a bus – before stopping. To learn what to do in other MVA scenarios visit bchydro.com/safety.
For information on outages, and estimated restoration times visit bchydro.com/outages.
BC Hydro Media Relations
p. 604 928 6468