By Korie Marshall
BC Hydro recently released annual reports to its five regions showing province-wide outages were on average 1.6 per customer in fiscal 2013 (ending March 31, 2013), down from 1.92 outages the previous year. The duration of the outages was 2.34 hours, also down from 2.65. However a closer look at the numbers show not all communities are equal.
Not surprisingly, Vancouver/Burnaby, Richmond, North Shore and Surrey had some of the lowest numbers of outages. They along with Talyor, Fort Nelson, Maple Ridge, Fraser Valley West, Prince Rupert and Houston all had less than one outage. Prince Rupert had the longest outages of the group at five hours, with the rest ranging from two to three.
At the other end of the scale, McBride and Valemount were amoung 10 communities with more than six outages. Pouce Coupe had the highest, with almost 14, but had the shortest length of outage at just over an hour. Golden was next with almost nine outages but a short duration of less than two hours. McBride and Valemount had about 6.5 outages, considerably better than the previous year’s average of about 12 for each, but the average length of the outages rose by over an hour from the previous year – McBride’s to five and Valemount’s to 4.5. Only Nakusp’s length of outage was longer at almost six hours, more than double the previous year. Queen Charlotte, Radium, Fraser Lake, Port Clements and Telkwa rounded out the group of highest number of outages.
The reports also listed grants-in-lieu paid to the municipalities. Grants are paid in lieu of property taxes, and are determined by legislation. BC Hydro says it paid over $124 million to June 30, 2013, with the bulk – almost $75 million – going to the Lower Mainland-South Coast region. Again not surprisingly, Vancouver, Surrey, Burnaby, Richmond, Delta and North Vancouver were at the top of the list of earners.
The Northern region received almost $15 million, with almost $3 million to Hudson’s Hope, almost $2 million to Prince George, over $1.5 million to the District of Mackenzie, and just under $37,000 going to McBride.
The Thompson-Okanagan-Columbia region received just over $16 million, with Revelstoke and Nelson receiving over $3 million each, and Valemount receiving over $283,000.
The Vancouver Island-Sunshine Coast region received just over $17 million, with Campbell River and Saanich receiving over $2 million each. The East Kootenay region received just over $1.6 million, with Sparwood getting the highest at almost $420,000.