Drought to potentially cause more power outages: BC Hydro

Waves during a windstorm (Vista Radio Stock Photo)

With the drought passed and storm season hitting, BC Hydro is predicting there will be more weather-related outages caused by trees on the south coast.

BC Hydro says the drought has left trees weakened. It has impacted structural roots in trees, making them more susceptible to winds of any speed.

They add over the past few years, climate change has created more back-to-back extreme weather events that might reach a critical point this season.

The company cites the impacts of last year’s heat dome, flooding last fall and ice storms in 2018 and 2019.

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BC Hydro says more than half of all power outages in the province are caused by trees and bad weather.

Environment Canada is asking residents to prepare for high wind speeds and heavy rain this week, with between 20 and 80 millimetres expected on the coast.

Hydro is asking customers to prepare for power outages with the following:

  • Having an emergency kit: supplies should last for at least 72 hours and include a flashlight, extra batteries, a first aid kit, non-perishable foods and bottled water
  • Knowing where to get the latest outage updates 
  • Understanding the dangers of electrical equipment: a downed or damaged power line should always be considered an emergency even if it is not smoking, sparking or making a buzzing sound. Always assume the line is live, stay back at least 10 metres (the length of a bus) and call 9-1-1 to report.

BC Hydro says it prepares for storm season year-round and is increasing its vegetation management program this year.

They say this includes inspecting trees and other tall vegetation growing near infrastructure.