British Columbia

B.C. residents affected by windstorms to have power restored by New Years Eve: BC Hydro

An updated schedule from BC Hydro says it will take until New Years Eve to restore power to some residents affected by a powerful windstorm.

600,000 customers lost power due to a powerful windstorm Thursday; 12,000 still without power

BC Hydro says it will take until New Years Eve to restore power to all British Columbians. (BC Hydro)

It will likely take till New Years Eve to restore power for British Columbians who lost their electricity following Thursday's powerful windstorm, said an updated schedule from BC Hydro.

According to the schedule, most communities will have their power restored between Dec. 26 and 27. Parker Island, which is a 160-hectare island in the Southern Gulf Islands of British Columbia, will be one of the last places to have its lights back on on Dec. 31.

BC Hydro said that while crews have been working round the clock to restore power to 600,000 customers affected by Thursday's storm, 12,000 customers remained without power Christmas Day.

BC Hydro spokesperson Mora Scott said it will be "several more days" before some people get the lights back on.

"We have about 90 crews working on Vancouver Island and the the Gulf Islands today," Scott said. "The damage is really extensive though in the remaining areas and there are still hundreds of individual outages, so it's going to take some time to restore the power to everyone."

Thursday's windstorm was the worst BC Hydro has seen in 20 years. Winds as high as 100 km/h ripped over southern B.C., toppling trees and snapping power lines.

Some 800 field workers are out doing repairs, the company said, including workers brought in from the Interior and contractor crews from Alberta and the East Coast.   

The required repairs are extensive: crews have to restring hundreds of spans of lines and replace power poles and transformers.

Crews were working round-the-clock Tuesday to restore power losses caused by a windstorm in B.C. last Thursday. (BC Hydro)

"Replacing a pole, for example, can take up to eight hours and is basically considered a mini construction job," Scott said. "And we still have hundreds of poles to replace." 

BC Hydro will continue to provide updates as they become available, with updated estimates for restoration for specific communities posted on the company's website. 

For those customers without power for an extended period of time, BC Hydro recommends the following:

  • Have a fully stocked emergency kit containing a flashlight, batteries, first aid, bottled water, medications and non-perishable foods.
  • Have regular check-ins with families, friends or neighbours.
  • Practice food safety.
  • Use generators safely and do not store fuel indoors.

With files from The Canadian Press