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Osprey being blamed for large power outage in West Kelowna

Osprey blamed for outage

Rob Gibson

UDPATE 4:05 p.m.

BC Hydro says the power outage Tuesday afternoon in West Kelowna was caused by an osprey dropping wet sticks onto electrical lines and poles. 

“The arcing shown in the video is a result of the wet sticks contacting our equipment. The fault then tripped back to the substation,” says Mary Anne Coules, BC Hydro community relations. 

“In order to restore power, our crews had to remove the sticks from our wires and poles and then re-energized the line at the substation.”

BC Hydro says small animals and birds are one of the leading causes of outages in B.C., responsible for 10 per cent of them in 2019. 

“To address this issue, we have implemented a variety of measures to help prevent birds and animals from contacting our equipment,” Coules continued. “This includes building nesting platforms for osprey nests to deter them from nesting on our power poles and installing wildlife protection measures at our substations, such as ‘bird guards’ that protects birds and wildlife from contacting energized equipment in substations.”

UPDATE 2:38 p.m.

Dash-cam video taken by Gord Marshall on Highway 97 and Horizon Drive appears to catch the exact moment an electrical surge hits a power transformer.

"Quite a show and there was a second surge as I drove by that the camera didn't catch," Marshall said, adding he captured the video at about 12:15 p.m., right when power was knocked out to 3,500 customers in West Kelowna. 

UPDATE 2:30 p.m.

Electricity has now been restored in West Kelowna, according to BC Hydro. 

The utility did not say online what caused the outage.


Nearly 3,500 BC Hydro customers are in the dark in West Kelowna.

The utility reports the power has been out north of Aubrey Road since 12:15 p.m.

BC Hydro has assigned a crew to the outage but cannot offer an estimate as to when electricity will be restored. 

A second smaller outage is also impacting less than five homes off Old Boucherie Road. Crews are on site there, where the power has been out since 9:15 a.m.

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