BC Hydro prepares for upcoming storm while clean up continues

BC Hydro bracing for storm

While another storm bears down on the province, BC Hydro crews are still trying to rebuild infrastructure damaged by the last storm.

No small task, considering 87 power poles and 14 transformers along the Highway 8 corridor alone need to be replaced.

Environment Canada issued a rainfall warning for the Lower Mainland on Wednesday. The region, including Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley, could get as much as 80 mm of rain by early Friday morning.

The last storm knocked out power to hundreds of thousands of homes, including in West Kelowna and caused massive flooding.

This time around BC Hydro is prepared.

“Last week’s storms caused record inflows into some of our reservoirs and power outages to more than 258,000 people in the province,” says Chris O’Riley, President and CEO, BC Hydro. “BC Hydro crews continue to assess the damage from the last week’s storms. Costs are expected to be in the millions and we are gearing up for more extreme weather.”

BC Hydro experts not only had to restore power and repair power lines they also had to cope with and manage reservoir levels and plan releases of water from reservoirs to reduce the volume of downstream flows to help protect the public and property.

The inflows as a result of the storm between November 13 and 15 resulted in several basins reaching their highest levels on record.

“Our experts operate the generation system on a 24/7 basis and were challenged by the inflows last week,” adds O’Riley. “This week, in some basins, we are already starting with very full reservoirs and are anticipating additional rainfall. In fact, our teams are proactively releasing water from some reservoirs to create space.”

Power has been restored to all BC Hydro customers who were hit by outages as a result of last week's storm, with the exception of some customers still impacted by evacuation orders.

"Heading into the next storm, BC Hydro is reminding the public to stay away from rivers with increased inflows, as flows can change rapidly. BC Hydro is also reminding the public to be prepared for power outages and to stay at least 10 metres away from fallen power lines," O’Riley says.

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