Vancouver Island has three times more trees per kilometre of power lines than anywhere in North America. (File)

Power outages will hit as storm season arrives

Personal preparedness is key to dealing with loss of power, says B.C. Hydro

Storm season is here and Greater Victoria residents should expect, at some point, they will experience a power outage.

And while B.C. Hydro is doing everything it can to mitigate the impact of those outages, people should prepare themselves to be without power for at least 24 hours.

That’s the message from Ted Olynyk, the manager of community relations for the utility.

“We prepare year-round for storm events, but we can’t eliminate outages. That’s just part of living on the West Coast,” Olynyk said.

He added the main cause of outages is related to trees coming down on power lines and despite a constant effort to remove problem trees and trim back branches, a significant storm will still result in power lines being hit by falling trees.

“We have a lot of trees on Vancouver Island. In fact, we have three times more trees per kilometer of power lines than anywhere else in North America,” Olynyk said.

“The windstorm of 2006 was a watershed for us, and we’ve been improving our systems and responses ever since.”

RELATED: Wind storm knocked out power

But as much as B.C. Hydro prides itself on being able to restore power within 24 hours in 95 per cent of outages, there’s always a possibility that power could be out for a longer period.

That’s where personal responsibility comes in.

“Storm events are like a snooze alarm reminder for people of what they’ll have to endure in the case of a major event, like a major earthquake, and a lot of the same principles apply,” Olynyk said.

He said people should ensure that they have flashlights and extra batteries, water (particularly if they are on wells that rely on electric pumps), medications and all the things they would need in the case of a major disaster.

Residents should also recognize that there is a hierarchy of repairs after a major event.

First, damage to power plants and high voltage lines and substations are repaired. Next, the utility will restore power to critical services such as hospitals, fire departments, and water systems. Finally, service is restored to residential customers-first to large neighborhoods, then smaller ones and finally individual customers.

Residents should also be aware of B.C.Hydro’s information line at 1-800-BCHYDRO (224-9376) and its online inquiry service at bchydro.com/outages.

“When an outage occurs, we’ve improved our system to give customers a real-time indication of when the power will be restored. If it appears that a lengthy outage seems likely, people should consider other options such as a hotel or a friend’s home where they still have power.”

Olynyk added that said Sooke may experience longer outages by virtue of its location.

“It can be a real challenge to get a crew out in a timely manner, especially if we have trees that have not only knocked out power but have shut down the highway,” he said.

He also noted that with changing climate conditions, the power and frequency of storms seem to be increasing.

“We’re now seeing big, healthy trees come down in windstorms that are variable in direction and intensity,” Olynyk said.

“Soils become saturated and shifting winds can literally “walk” trees out of the soil and onto power lines.”



mailto:tim.collins@sookenewsmirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

B.C. mom, kids on bike turned away from Tim Hortons drive-thru

Car-free for years, Charity Millar ‘felt gross’ being denied service

The Salvation Army rings in Christmas Kettle Campaign in Victoria

Goal is to raise $250,000 this year for Vancouver Island residents needing support

Body found in Central Saanich waste recycling facility deemed non-suspicious

Coroners Service investigating circumstances of death

Saanich mom on a bike turned away in Tim Hortons drive-thru

Car-free for years, Charity Millar ‘felt gross’ being denied service

West Shore RCMP spend four hours searching for roving hikers

RCMP say stay put once you’ve called for help and listen to instructions

POLL: Do you plan on making any purchases on Black Friday?

We’ve all seen the images. Shoppers rioting outside of a store in… Continue reading

B.C. man gets life with no parole until 2042 for murder of Belgian tourist near Boston Bar

Sean McKenzie pleaded guilty to second-degree murder of 28-year-old Amelie Christelle Sakkalis

‘Very disrespectful’: B.C. first responder irked by motorists recording collisions on cellphones

Central Cariboo Search and Rescue deputy chief challenges motorists to break the habit

Daily cannabis linked to reduction in opioid use: B.C. researchres

Researchers looked at a group of 1,152 people in Vancouver who reported substance use and chronic pain

Port Alberni rallies for mill workers

Fundraisers helping ease the sting of five months without work

Island student lobbies school board for dress code consistency

Jaylene Kuo contacted school trustees after seeing dress guidelines at brother’s school

Bids down, costs up on Highway 1, B.C. independent contractors say

Rally protests NDP government’s union-only public construction

Members of little people community applaud change to drop ‘midget’ term

‘It’s not about sensitivity,’ says Allan Redford, the president of the Little People of Canada

Most Read