Power back for thousands

UPDATE: 6:40 a.m.

B.C. Hydro says it suspects a lightning strike caused widespread outages in northern and central British Columbia, but the power was back on a few hours later.

The outages began Wednesday at about 9:30 p.m. with more than 120,000 people left in the dark, including much of the city of Prince George.

Other affected communities included Vanderhoof, Smithers, Fort St. John, Dawson Creek, Chetwynd, Hudson's Hope, Houston and Burns Lake.

Power was back on in Prince George within two hours, and service was restored to the remaining customers by about 3 a.m.

B.C. Hydro initially said the outages were caused by a transmission failure.

– The Canadian Press

UPDATE 10:15 p.m.

B.C. Hydro says the power outage is believed to be caused by a suspected lightning strike that resulted in a transmission line failure. 

“Crews are beginning restoration efforts across the region, working to restore all customers in the next few hours,” BC Hydro says.

Most of Prince George has now been restored with the remainder expected to be back online by 12:30 a.m.

As of right now, BC Hydro’s website states about 125,000 people are without electricity.

PrinceGeorgeMatters has confirmed the large orange glow visible from the city as the power went out was due to a regular stack burn at the Husky refinery, typically not visible when the city is powered. 

ORIGINAL 9:30 p.m.

Large swaths of Northern B.C. are without power Wednesday night. 

The exact extent of the outage is unclear at this point, but BC Hydro said online 78,000 people in Northern B.C. and 44,000 in the Central Interior are impacted by the blackout. Those figures have been climbing as BC Hydro confirms outages. 

"Affected communities run north and west of Prince George including Vanderhoof, Smithers, Fort St John, Dawson Creek, Chetwynd, Hudsons Hope, Houston and Burns Lake," BC Hydro said.

The outage is due to a transmission line failure. There is no indication when power will be restored. 

While it appears electricity was knocked out for the entirety of Northern B.C. initially, it has come back online in some communities, says social media posters. 

There was initially some concern about a large orange glow spotted outside Prince George as the power went out, but local CBC reporter Andrew Kurjata said on Twitter it has been attributed to a flare stack from a mill or refinery that typically isn't visible when the city is powered. 

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