Skip to content

News release

High degrees, drought and damaged trees may mean more outages this storm season

VANCOUVER: After a near record-breaking dry season in B.C., BC Hydro is warning customers to be prepared for weather-related power outages caused by weakened trees and drought as storm season begins.

B.C. experienced one of its driest summers on record this year. This created the conditions for a record-breaking wildfire season and resulted in BC Hydro crews replacing more that 1,400 power poles and nearly 90 kilometres of power lines to restore power to more than 20,000 customers that were impacted across the province since May.

The dry weather and widespread wildfires damaged soil, roots, trees, and vegetation in many parts of the province. BC Hydro crews are now ramping up for storm season as BC Hydro’s meteorologists are warning that there is there is an elevated risk of significant power disruption in the event of a windstorm this fall.

"Long, dry stretches during the summer put local vegetation under stress," said Susie Rieder, BC Hydro spokesperson. "Trees weakened by drought and associated disease can be more susceptible to wind, and many of these trees still have leaves late in the season making them increasingly susceptible to wind and adding weight from rain or snow. As storm seasons ramps up, a substantial number of dead and damaged trees and branches are expected to fall, contributing to power outages."

When it comes to storm season, BC Hydro prepares year-round and has stepped up its vegetation management program in recent years given the drought and weather-related challenges. Crews perform regular maintenance work to help minimize the impact adverse weather can have on the electricity system. This includes inspecting trees and other tall vegetation growing near BC Hydro's infrastructure to identify potential problems. Trees and adverse weather are the single biggest cause for power outages in B.C. – more than half of all power outages are caused by trees and bad weather.

In addition to wildfires and the drought's impact on vegetation, BC Hydro's generation system, which is predominately hydroelectric, is directly impacted by variations in weather. Although BC Hydro’s smaller plants on the South Coast have recovered, its larger facilities in the north and southeast of the province are still at lower-than-normal reservoir water levels for this time of year. BC Hydro is taking steps to actively manage the drought, including conserving water by drawing on less impacted regions and importing more power – a common activity during low water years.

As storm season begins, BC Hydro is encouraging customers to be prepared for a power outage by:

  • Having an emergency kit: supplies should last for at least 72 hours and include a flashlight, extra batteries, first aid kit, non-perishable foods, bottled water and an external power bank for phones and other devices.
  • Knowing where to get the latest outage updates: customers can visit from their mobile device for the most up-to-date information.
  • Understanding the dangers of electrical equipment: a downed or damaged power line should always be considered an emergency even if it is not smoking, sparking or making a buzzing sound. Always assume the line is live, stay back at least 10 metres (the length of a bus) and call 9-1-1 to report.

For more information on power outages and safety, visit