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Day-long power outage coming to Tofino-Ucluelet

BC Hydro crews work on the transmission line that energizes the region on April 2
Outlets will be powerless throughout the Tofino-Ucluelet region on April 2 due to scheduled BC Hydro work. (Andrew Bailey photo)

Limiting screen time will be a breeze on April 2 as a Coast-wide power outage brings opportunities to bolt into the outdoors, spark an enjoyment of nature, charge up some competition with board games or just stay static with a good book.

The entire West Coast will be without power on April 2 from about 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. while BC Hydro crews work on the transmission line that energizes the region.

“We know that there’s never a good time for an outage,” Hydro spokesperson Karla Louwers told the Westerly News. “The work that we’re doing is important to maintain the system and improve and maintain reliability and we absolutely appreciate the community’s patience while we complete this work.”

She said crews will be replacing one transmission structure and repairing three others while also replacing a damaged power line near the Taylor Arm rest stop, which will require the use of a helicopter.

Residents are urged to unplug their electronics and turn off their lights, electric heaters and appliances to prevent damage when the power is restored and to wait about an hour as energy is restored.

“In recent outages like the one last weekend we were delayed in restoring customers because when our system has been off for a longer period of time from a planned or an unplanned outage, we consider it a cold system. We can’t put the full load on the system right away, it’s not stable and it will actually cause unplanned power outages as we’re trying to restore customers…Sometimes we’ll have to set it back off and bring on a smaller segment than we thought we needed to,” Louwers said.

“When we restore power after it’s been off for a long time, we have to segment the customers that we bring on and one of the ways that we can work more efficiently is if the load is lighter on our electrical system…We just don’t want to see that big load right away, it will mean that some other customers might have to wait longer for their power to come on.”

She said maintenance work runs on an eight-year cycle, but the West Coast’s unique weather can accelerate the timeline.

“Sometimes weather and storms age equipment (prematurely) and they have to be replaced sooner than what we would think the end of life is,” she said. “In the case of this transmission line, we regularly maintain it to inspect equipment and poles to see what’s nearing end of life and what will need to be replaced…There are some poles that have had some tree damage in recent storms that had temporary repairs made and permanent repairs to be made to those structures during this outage.”

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Andrew Bailey

About the Author: Andrew Bailey

I arrived at the Westerly News as a reporter and photographer in January 2012.
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