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Man rushes Clark over outage

A frustrated Shannon Lake man rushed Premier Christy Clark today while she visited the Volcanic Wines Vineyard. The man voicing his concern about BC Hydro’s plan to cut power in his neighbourhood for eight hours on Sunday.

A very shocked Clark tried to remain composed while her staff eased the man a few feet back from her. He was able to speak his mind before being ushered outside.

The man, Graham Stevens, is furious over the planned outage that will leave 471 homes without power.

“Christy Clark says we have to do these things and have planned outages, but I say, plan it better,” shared Stevens with Castanet outside the meeting. 

“There has been no planning, no one has checked to see if people have home dialysis units or defibrillators for heart conditions. Someone with the local government told me they weren’t even advised of this,” shared a frustrated Stevens. 

BC Hydro will cut power to 471 homes from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday December 15. They say they have to have the down time so crews can install new cables and ducting underground. Ten specific houses on Shannon way will also have their power cut again on Tuesday December 17, at 9 a.m.

“Apparently BC Hydro thought this would be a good time to re-lay the power cables, this project has been dragging its ass since the beginning of November,” says Stevens. “I mean what are we supposed to do for eight hours? It’s going to be freezing cold and dark.”

Stevens argues that those with electric heaters will have no options and those with gas furnaces won't have working blowers either. 

Clark mentioned to Stevens that temperatures are supposed to rise on Sunday to three degrees, but Stevens found her answer dissatisfactory. 

“She dodged it completely, she was all hugs and kisses when she wanted our votes and now I have to go home and make sure my power is on,” says Stevens. 

The forecast for Sunday in Shannon Lake calls for a high of four degrees and a low of two degrees. 

BC Hydro is insisting the power outage has to occur now while The District of West Kelowna is building new sidewalks in the Shannon Lake area allowing them to take the opportunity to upgrade their underground system. 

BC Hyrdo says ads were put out reminding customers of the power outage and to turn off major appliances and unplug electronics before the outage begins, but Stevens doesn’t believe everyone will get the message. 

“All these people will have forgotten to unplug all their items, the power will come back on, everything will turn at once causing a surge and the power will be out even longer. Not to mention the possibility of it burning out their high def TVs." 

He says the premier has the ability to stop the power outage. 

“She has the power to say reschedule this to the spring and she won't do it,” says an angry Stevens. 

He says BC Hydro and the government have not considered the time of year nor the risk they are putting citizens in. Not only will many be without power and heat, he also says anyone not on a Telus home phone line will loose their service as well, leaving them unable to call 9-1-1 in an emergency. 

Stevens has approached the District of West Kelowna, as well as the province, Interior Health and now Premier Clark in person. 

“I am considering getting an injunction on this, this is absolutely bull****,” said Stevens. 

We called BC Hydro asking for their comment on Stevens' concerns, but they did not return our call.

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