Outages keep Hydro crews busy over holidays

Over the holidays, BC Hydro power line technicians were kept busy responding to numerous outages in and around Cranbrook.

Arne Petryshen

Over the holidays, BC Hydro power line technicians were kept busy responding to numerous outages in and around Cranbrook.

Sally MacDonald, Community Relations, East Kootenay BC Hydro said that on Dec. 24 at 5:13 p.m., there was a motor vehicle accident that took down a pole near Crest Road south of Cranbrook.

“That resulted in a power outage to 236 customers,” said MacDonald. “ A crew of three power line technicians responded to that call and in order to quickly get the power back up they made temporary repairs to the line and were able to restore power by 9:15 p.m.”

On Dec. 25 at 4:49 p.m., 409 customers in Cranbrook’s Southview area lost power when an underground cable became overloaded. MacDonald said a combination of Christmas lights, meal preparation and heating that increased demand for that neighbourhood and overloaded the breaker.

A two-person crew responded and made permanent repairs by increasing the fuse size and safely restoring power at 7:30 p.m.

“The repairs have increased the available capacity to the neighbourhood, and our engineering department will take another look at the area to make sure those repair are sufficient to account for any increases in demand,” she said.

On December 26, power line technicians returned to the broken pole near Crest Road to make permanent repairs and replaced the pole at that time. The same 236 customers from two days prior experienced an outage from 9:11 a.m. to 12:02 p.m. while the permanent repairs were made.

“In addition to these outages, the same crew also responded to calls in Bull River on Dec. 23 and Munroe Lake on Dec. 27, neither of those actually lead to any outages,” she said. “In one case it was a Telus line that was down, and in the other case a tree was on the line, but it didn’t lead to an outrage.”

MacDonald noted that it was the same two person crew that responded to all five of the calls.

“These two guys had to take time out of their own family holiday celebration three days in a row to respond to power for other Cranbrook families,” she said.

BC Hydro provided steps to prepare for a potential power outrage during the winter months, a time when outages have a bigger effect on hydro customers. Here they are:

• Develop a preparedness plan and share it with your family. Be sure everyone knows what to expect and what to do. Have a contingency plan in case power is out for a longer period.

• Make a list of local emergency contact numbers (fire, police, ambulance, etc.). Include 1-888-POWERON (1-888-769-3766) for reporting an outage.

• Prepare an emergency kit and store it in an easy-to find location. Check regularly to make sure the kit is well stocked and that all equipment is in good working order. An emergency kit should contain: enough bottled water and non-perishable, ready-to-eat foods for 72 hours; a first aid kit; a battery operated flashlight, clock and radio; a corded telephone; and warm clothing and blankets. Remember to pull out your emergency kit once a year and make sure it still fits the needs of your household. Replace batteries with fresh ones.

• Use surge protectors to protect sensitive electrical equipment such as computers, DVD players and TVs.

If you notice an outage, BC Hydro asks that you first check if they are a aware by either visiting bchydro.com on a mobile device, calling 1 888 POWERON (1-888-769-3766) from a corded landline, or *49376 (*HYDRO) on your mobile phone. If your outage isn’t listed, report it to us when you phone.

BC Hydro also warns people to stay away from fallen power lines.

“Stay at least ten metres — 33 feet, about the length of a bus — away at all times and do not attempt to remove debris surrounding the line. If you see a fallen power line, report the location by calling 911,” noted BC Hydro. “Emergency responders will work with our crews to make the area safe and repair the line.”