By Andrea Arnold
At 3:23 pm this afternoon, a BC Hydro transmission circuit that runs north from Kamloops to the North Thompson and Robson Valleys tripped and nearly 12,000 customers lost power. 

As of 8:15 pm crews had restored power to over 7,000 customers as far north as Barriere. 4,700, including those in the Robson Valley were still in the dark. 

“We are working to get the McBride diesel station running – it’s not clear why it didn’t start up when the outage occurred,” said spokesperson Bob Gammer. 

Crews are continuing to work on getting the power back on, but the source of the problem has not been located. 

The rough and expansive gound, weather conditions and nightfall have slowed progress as crews work to locate and fix the issue. 

“Full restoration of all remaining customers is expected tomorrow (Thursday) once a line patrol can be completed in daylight,” said Gammer. 

McBride residents, normally have services returned quickly through desiel generators or the local independent power projects (IPP).  However, during this time of year, water levels are low. 

“The loads are higher than the available water power will support at this time,” said spokesperson for the Castle Mountain IPP John Wheeler. “We can operate together with the McBride diesels to restore power, but they were having an issue with one unit. We will connect as many customers as possible, as we bring on additional IPPs.”

The McBride area started seeing service restored at approximately 9:15pm. 

An email update from the Village of Valemount sent at 12:37pm on March 24, stated that the transmission line fault has been located and repairs are underway. Crews estimate restoral at 3pm. For those residents still without power, we appreciate your patience and will continue to provide updates. For those who have had power restored, there will be a necessary short outage when BC Hydro is ready to restore all circuits to normal operation.

Gammer reported Thursday evening, that BC Hydro crews located the site of the problem during a patrol by helicopter that morning. In an area a few kilometres south of Little Fort, they spotted a wood pole structure that had been damaged by a tree.