Increasingly frequent, severe storms causing more outages: BC Hydro report

Marco Green
November 18, 2018

Improved meteorology models: this information provides greater insight into where and when a storm might hit so BC Hydro can ensure crews are ready to respond quickly. The extreme weather and trees account for 60 percent of all outages in BC.

A report by BC Hydro says power outages from severe weather events has surged in the last five years.

In 2017, 148 storm events caused power outages for 1.18 million hydro customers, up from the 323,000 customers affected by 52 storms in 2013.

On the plus side, the lights have been back on within 24-hours but the utility says customers should always be prepared for the worst case scenario.

New technology, a smart meter network, and constant preparation are helping with the process. One of the items we've implemented is called 'enhanced prediction logic.' This uses an algorithm ...

New mobile dispatch tools: these tools communicate via satellite and help information from the field get to its operations centre faster and more often - providing more timely updates for customers.

More extreme weather causing more power outages, BC Hydro report says
Extreme weather causing more power outages: BC Hydro

A report from BC Hydro says storms and extreme weather events have both tripled over the past five years, leading to an increase in damaged electrical systems and more power outages for customers.

Chris O'Riley, Hydro's chief operating officer, says in a release that despite higher numbers of storms and fires, the use of new technology and processes is allowing crews to restore power nearly as quickly as they did when such events were less intense.

BC Hydro spokesperson Kevin Aquino their team of in-house meteorologists have identified that "we have been experiencing more extreme weather that is evident with the summer wildfires and the winter ice storms". The August 2015 windstorm was the single largest outage event in B.C. Hydro's history.

Over the course of three days, the storm caused 142,000 power outages and damaged more than 50 power poles and 391 spans of wire.

BC Hydro encourages residents to be prepared for power outages by having a well-stocked emergency kit that includes a flashlight, extra batteries, a first aid kit and non-perishable food and water.

"If you need a visual for what 10 metres looks like, it's about the size of a city bus".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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