A BC Hydro worker repairs damaged powerlines near Twin Rinks in Chilliwack on Tuesday. BC Hydro is reminding customers to prepare for storm season.

Harsh storms have nearly tripled power outages in last five years, BC Hydro says

More frequent and severe storms have damaged Hydro’s electrical systems since 2013

Storms and extreme weather have nearly tripled the number of power outages throughout B.C. in the past five years, at worst affecting more than one million customers in 2017.

BC Hydro released a report Friday saying more frequent and severe storms have been damaging its electrical systems more and more since 2013, such as the major windstorm in northern B.C. in 2015, wildfires across the Interior in the summer of 2017, and an ice storm in the Fraser Valley the following winter.

Roughly 20 per cent of customers will notice more electricity outages in their neighbourhood as a result, the utility said, though that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s taking long for crews to get the lights back on.

“In fact, about 95 per cent of customers’ power is restored within 24 hours following an extreme event,” CEO Chris O’Riley said.

In B.C., falling trees and branches are the main cause of power outages, accounting for nearly 60 per cent of all outages.

The utility is urging people get prepared for weather-related outages by having a well-stocked emergency kit that includes:

  • A flashlight
  • Extra batteries
  • A first-aid kit
  • A blanket or warm clothing
  • Ready-to-eat non-perishable food
  • A three-day supply of bottled water for each member of the household
  • Optional items include personal toiletries, medications, cash in small bills, copies of important documents, a portable cellphone charger, and books or games

@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

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