Over 60% of B.C. residents not prepared for storm-related power outage: BC Hydro
A man gets a close up view of the crashing waves along the Stanley Park Seawall during a windstorm in Vancouver, B.C. (CP / Richard Lam)
VICTORIA -- BC Hydro says its customers are largely unprepared for power outages despite increasingly severe winter storms.
The Crown utility says in a report that it's seeing increasing damage to its infrastructure because of storms in recent years.
A powerful windstorm last December left 750,000 customers without power and tens of thousands waited more than three days before it was reconnected in the largest outage in the utility's history.
BC Hydro says a survey of 800 customers found more than 60 per cent have not taken steps to prepare for storm-related power outages and only half have an emergency kit.
The survey found that most people affected by the December 2018 storm felt they could have been more prepared, yet only half have taken any steps toward that since then.
BC Hydro is encouraging customers to stock emergency kits with enough supplies to sustain each member of a household for at least three days.
A kit should include a flashlight with extra batteries, a first-aid kit, any required medication, non-perishable food and bottled water.
The utility is also reminding people to call 911 if they come across a downed or damaged power line, which should be considered live and dangerous.
In December 2017, an ice storm that hit the Fraser Valley caused challenges for crews when freezing rain and below-zero temperatures caused ice to form on trees, which broke and fell onto power lines or knocked down power poles.
BC Hydro says its equipment became encased in ice and the poor weather conditions made it extremely difficult for crews to respond.
In August 2015, a summer windstorm knocked out power to more than 700,000 customers over a three-day period on the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 22, 2019.