BC Hydro had a busy year, with its personnel responding to 50,000 trouble calls, and while many were the ordinary downed line or issue with a transformer box there were a few that workers will soon not forget.
From busy beavers harvesting timber for a dam – causing a few trees to collapse onto power lines – to a nosy neighbour who tried to install a security camera to a power pole, BC Hydro has released its most memorable outages of 2019.
Although not quite over, the utility company is close to finishing the year off on a much more quiet note than December last year when B.C. saw one of its most damaging winter storms in BC Hydro history which left more than 75,000 customers in the dark for a number of days.
The utility company is also issuing a reminder to British Columbians to remain cautious around power lines, staying at least three metres away – or about the length of a four-door car. Anyone who comes across a downed or damages power line should stay at least 10 metres away and call 911.
Here’s a look at BC Hydro’s most memorable power outages:
Williams Lake: Ten customers were left without power after a bear used a pole as a scratching post. A similar incident occurred near Hope when an itchy bear rubbed against the side of a house and knocked the meter off the socket.
Vernon: A hot air balloon ride was landing when the balloon hit a power line. Luckily, the fabric of the balloon was able to tear free from the line and the passengers reached ground safely.
Surrey: A customer found out the hard way that flying a drone around power lines in a residential area was a bad idea after it hit a power line – causing a power outage in their own home.
Dawson Creek: Beavers harvesting timber for a dam were the culprits of an outage after the trees they were chewing on collapsed onto power lines. BC Hydro crews prevented a similar incident from happening in Hixon.
Vancouver Island: In an attempt to secretly record activities on a neighbouring property, a Vancouver Island resident climbed a power pole and installed a security camera atop it. BC Hydro crews were alerts and the camera was safely removed shortly after.
Clinton: A bald eagle caused chaos when it dropped its lunch – a Canadian goose – directly onto a power line.
Greater Vancouver: More than 20,000 customers in North Vancouver and West Vancouver left in the dark after a unique combination of weather events – including what meteorologists call a “bomb cyclone,” which is when wind converges within a low pressure system and starts to move in the same direction as the Earth’s rotation.
Richmond: A bundle of rogue balloons on New Year’s Eve hit power lines, resulting in 20 customers starting 2019 in the dark.
Stewart: Hunters used BC Hydro transmission towers for target practice – a decision that cause an outage impacting 170 customers and over $60,000 in damages. Two similar incidents happened on Vancouver Island – the first near Coombs and the second near Qualicum Beach.