Lights out on Friday morning

by EVAN MATTHEWS

A variety of service interruptions continue to plague the Robson Valley.

Reports of a power outage lasting roughly 10 hours, stretching from Valemount as far as Dome Creek, were confirmed by B.C. Hydro this week.

The outage happened last Friday between 1:20 AM until about 11:20 AM, according to B.C. Hydro, and affected 1,200 customers.

However, B.C. Hydro says it has good reason for the inconvenience this time around.

“A small rodent felled a large tree… It was a beaver,” says Bob Gammer, a spokesperson for B.C. Hydro. “People are used to seeing the McBride Diesel Station kick in.

“Most of the time it’s a seamless transition from grid power to the local diesel, but that did not happen on Friday,” he says.

Crews investigated the circuit fault by patrolling the circuit, and they checked if everything was operating properly at the diesel station, Gammer says.

After investigation, crews concluded that because the beaver had caused a fault within the area that the diesel station serves, the diesel could not start, which contributed to the length of the outage.

“It was quite a big tree,” says Gammer. “I was told the beaver had fallen a tree 18-20 inches around… and the location was swampy, which made access difficult.

“We couldn’t get our bucket truck in there,” he says.

The wires were badly damaged, according to Gammer, saying it took the crews extensive time to put everything back into place.

The location of the felled tree was east of McBride, on the Valemount side of McBride, according to B.C. Hydro.

“It took extra time because of the complexity,” Gammer says.

The circuit, which goes right from Valemount all the way to Dome Creek, was out, according to B.C. Hydro.

The line leaves Valemount, but according to B.C. Hydro, doesn’t actually serve any customers in Valemount, as the line leaves the substation and heads out down the highway.

The line then picks up customers as you get further down toward Dunster, Gammer says.

“We do get outages related to animals on a fairly regular basis when you look at the big picture,” says Gammer. “But beavers?”

Though the outage may have been inconvenient, Gammer says not to expect too many more outages — at least related to beavers — as in his 10 years working in northern B.C., he’s only seen four outages related to beaver activity.

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