Friday, April 18th9.1°C

Door to door notification

We asked Shannon Lake residents to write in and tell us how they felt about BC Hydro's planned eight-hour power outage on Sunday, and the letters came pouring in.

There were messages of disgust, worry, and furry.

Shannon Lake Resident Blain Hearthouse wrote into Castanet sharing his thoughts on the outage.

“Planned power outages are absolutely a part of life we have all had them, but I have NEVER had one in the middle of snowy cold weather and on a Sunday no less! Sundays are one of the few days most families get to relax and enjoy the day together and with many families having two working parents the little time they get to spend with their children at home is precious. I for one was not notified at all, my notification was reading your article on the man who challenged Christy Clark, good for him!!”

Jessica S. agrees, she says she was not informed at all about this planned outage.

“I am outraged that they would choose a Sunday (when most families are home from work and school) in the middle of winter to shut off our power.  I am also outraged at the apparent lack of communication in this regard.  At no point have we received a letter, email or notice on our door advising us of this scheduled outage.  I called BC Hydro today to get "the scoop" on what is going on.  They gave me NO information other than what is already posted on Castanet and they were not understanding or apologetic about the extreme disregard for peoples lives.”

KB Laird adds to that sentiment saying if it weren’t for local media she would not have known at all.

“Homeowners in this area were not advised.  Just heard it on Castanet today.  I don't think this is the right time of year to turn power off for eight hours. I think Premier Clark should rethink this for all 500 homes.”

BC Hydro Manager of Community Relations, Dag Sherman had this to say.

"The parts being replaced are all under ground, they are from 1975, they are old and deteriorating,” explains Sherman. "For safety reasons the work had to be done, it could cause a failure at anytime. If we leave it in and there is an unplanned outage then the power could be out for a lot longer, so this is a planned outage to avoid an unplanned outage."

Sherman admits BC Hydro did not go door to door with notifications, but says they did advertise the planned outage as required.

Kim Gardiner also wrote to our letters section, she also doesn’t know what BC Hydro was thinking.

“So what happens to the people that only have electric heat? And with the temperatures that we have been having lately, this is ridiculous! This is one of the stupidest things that Hydro has ever done!!”

Glen Kublick thinks the whole idea is ridiculous.

“BC Hydro is doing a stupid thing on Sunday. Sunday is when people have the day off with their families. Not having hydro on a Sunday is stupid, especially in the winter. They should do that kind of work in the spring or summer and during the week not on the weekends.”

Shelley Vanston believes the resident’s needs were not considered at all.

“Are they serious?  Leave us in the cold & dark!  Why the hell was this not done back in let's say September when it's not so cold! What do people who don't have a fireplace do? Freeze?  For eight hours!! To stay warm I have to leave my house all day. Hang out in mall? Oh right, they don't open till 11 a.m. & they are shutting it off at 8 a.m.  Obviously the people in charge don't live in our subdivision, very poor planning, BC Hydro!”

In response, BC Hydro’s Sherman says residents where considered. He says they chose Sunday because a school is in the vicinity and they did not want the school to be out of power during a normal school day.

He also says temperatures are being monitored.

"We checked the weather, if it is -10 or below it won't go ahead. The forecast for Sunday is +6 and milder weather,” says Sherman.

Barry Konkin understands the need for the work, but not the timing.

“I would have preferred the maintenance scheduled earlier in the year, or perhaps postponed until warmer weather, to minimize the impact of the outage. BC Hydro is being pressured by our current government to keep costs down, and rightly so.  Now I wonder if that is the main reason the power outage is scheduled during office hours rather than from midnight to 8 a.m.?”

On the flip side of things resident Tracy Gordon supports the outage happening at this time of year when the food in the fridge and freezer isn’t as likely to spoil.

“We were left without power last summer for a similar amount of time and frankly it was over 30 plus, we lost food due to the outage. I would rather this time of year where you can actually deal with the situation. More than enough time was given and it had plenty of coverage on it.”

A concern still remains about the safety of residents during the outage as many will be ‘cut off’ from landline services and 9-1-1 during the eight-hour period.

If you are a TELUS customer your phone service will not be directly affected IF you have a traditional non-powered phone that plugs directly into the phone jack. But, any form of power operated cordless phones will be dead.

Shaw (phone) customers are also affected. According to a Shaw representative, the back up battery boxes connected to their phones lines “should” last the eight hours, but again will only work with a traditional non powered phone that plugs directly into the phone jack.

BC Hydro is also aware of some residents concern that all the power coming back on at once will cause a surge and cause a further outage. The utility says they have addressed this by asking people to unplug heavy appliances and to turn electronics off while the service work is being done.

"We don't expect to have issues," says Sherman who adds there is always a possibility the work will be completed before the 4 p.m. deadline.

Check here to see if your street is on the list for the power outage.

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