British Columbia

Cowichan residents demand power-surge compensation

Some Vancouver Islanders are demanding compensation from BC Hydro after a power surge in June that they say caused thousands of dollars in damages to their homes and electrical equipment.

Some Vancouver Islanders are demanding compensation from BC Hydro after a power surge in June that they say caused thousands of dollars in damages to their homes and electrical equipment.

The Cowichan Valley residents say the surge was caused by a high voltage line that fell onto the line that was carrying electricity to their homes in June, causing damage to hundreds of properties.

Carla Bow said she had to replace a generator, a well pump, light bulbs and circuits costing $2,500 in all, but BC Hydro has been unwilling to pay more than $1,000 for damages per customer. 

"You don't want to hear my language on how I feel about BC Hydro, because we're on the public airwaves," Bow told CBC News. "I'm very angry and totally disgusted."

Frustrated by BC Hydro's limited offer of compensation, the some of the homeowners plan to meet this week with a lawyer to prepare a lawsuit against the power company.

A spokesman for BC Hydro, however, said that since the damage was caused by a contractor who was clearing brush for another company that operates the power transmission lines — the BC Transmission Corporation — the damage was not BC Hydro's fault or responsibility.

Ted Olynk said BC Hydro's $1,000 offer is a goodwill gesture and not an admission of liability.

"So this $1,000 is merely to help our customers with the hardship they've been going through in this process," said Olynk.

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