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BC Hydro’s most memorable outages of 2019

Itchy bears, a clumsy eagle and nosy neighbours were just some of the reasons why power was lost in 2019 to customers.

Itchy bears, a clumsy eagle and nosy neighbours: BC Hydro’s most memorable outages of 2019

No one likes the power going out, especially during an exciting show or when the home team is close to the winning score.

During 2019, BC Hydro responded to around 50,000 trouble calls in the province so far this year. As the year draws to a close, BC Hydro staff has compiled a list of the most memorable incidents in 2019.

Animal encounters      

  • Itchy bear: Ten customers in Williams Lake were left without power after a bear used a pole as a scratching post. A similar incident occurred near Hope when an itchy bear rubbed against the side of a house and knocked the meter off the socket.
  • That goose is cooked: A bald eagle caused an outage to customers in Clinton when the bird dropped its lunch – a Canadian goose – directly on a power line.
  • Busy beavers: Beavers harvesting timber for a dam were the culprits of outages in Dawson Creek and Hazelton after the trees collapsed on to power lines. Crews in Hixon were able to prevent a similar incident after removing a tree that beavers were attempting to fall.

Household hijinks

  • I spy: In an attempt to secretly record activities at a neighbouring property, a
    customer on Vancouver Island climbed a power pole to affix a security camera atop the structure. BC Hydro crews were alerted and the camera was safely removed.
  • Drone groan: A customer in Surrey found out the hard way that flying a drone around power lines in a residential area was a bad idea after it contacted a line, resulting in an outage at their home. 

Mother Nature’s fury      

  • Wind woes: Over 20,000 customers in North Vancouver and West Vancouver lost power in the early morning hours of November 27 after a unique combination of weather events, including a “bomb cyclone”, caused extensive damage to BC Hydro’s system.

Balloon blunders

  • Sparks fly: A hot air balloon in Vernon was landing when the balloon contacted a power line during its descent. The fabric of the balloon tore free from the line and the balloon and its passengers landed safely.
  • Party (ending) balloons: One of the 52 outages caused by balloons contacting BC Hydro’s equipment was an incident in Richmond in the early morning hours of New Year’s Day when a bundle of rogue balloons contacted a power line, resulting in an outage to 20 customers.

Risky business

  • Not-so-sharp-shooter: This past summer, hunters near Stewart used BC Hydro transmission towers for target practice, resulting in an outage for 170 customers and over $60,000 in damages. Two similar incidents were also discovered on Vancouver Island – one near Coombs and another near Qualicum Beach.

BC Hydro reminds the public if they are working near power lines, to keep themselves and any tools at least three metres – about the length of a four-door car – away from the line. If a member of the public comes across a downed or damaged power line, stay back at least 10 metres – the length of a city bus – and report it to 9-1-1.

For more information on how to prepare for power outages, visit bchydro.com/outages