BC Hydro report says climate change events cause worse storms, outages

Lloyd Doyle
November 18, 2018

BC Hydro says the province has three times more trees per kilometre of line than anywhere else in North America, and falling trees and branches are the leading cause of outages. "And we're continuing to improve our storm response and encourage our customers to be prepared for storm season".

A new BC Hydro report has found the number of storm events the Crown corporation has responded to has tripled in the past five years.

In a report entitled, "Storm warning: The impact B.C.'s wild weather is having on British Columbians and their power", they found that storms are becoming more severe as a direct result of climate change, which also leads to more damage to BC Hydro's electrical system as well as outages for customers.

BC Hydro says it spends $50 million each year to remove vegetation that is too close to the electrical system, and annually replaces around 10,000 of its almost one million power poles.

In 2017 there were 148 storms throughout the province that knocked out power to 1.8 million customers.

British Columbians are also seeing a change in storm events, according to a recent BC Hydro survey that reports more than 75 per cent of customers say storms are getting worse and 20 per cent say neighbourhood outages are more common in recent years. On average, customers were without power about three hours a year over the past five years.

Other causes of power outages include motor vehicle accidents, birds and animals, equipment failure and planned outages.

"It's hard to predict how much damage a storm will cause or how long a power outage will last for, so that's why we always encourage customers to be prepared", he said. Fix crews often had to halt work to ensure their own safety during the storm.

BC Hydro says about 95 per cent of customers have their lights back on within 24 hours during extreme weather events and power restored within four hours has increased by nine per cent over that time. During the summer, more than 100 crews worked to fix 475 power poles and 377 spans of wire.

In the spring and summer of 2015, major windstorms hammered both northern B.C. and the Lower Mainland and Southern Interior. The utility says it was the single largest outage event in its history.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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