BC Hydro crews were out trying to restore power to hundreds of customers in the Arrow Lakes and Slocan Valley on Thursday.
The valleys’ customers are some of the last to have the power switched back on after a snowstorm earlier this week brought trees down on power lines, cutting power for almost a day to many areas in the southern part of the province.
Nearly 600 customers around New Denver and south of Silverton along Highway 6 were still without power as of Thursday morning. Crews had been assigned to restore service but there was no word on when power would come back on.
Hydro was also reporting nearly two dozen separate problems up and down the Arrow Lakes Valley, from north of Nakusp to Edgewood, Fauquier and Needles south of the village. Many communities along Highway 31 north of Kootenay Lake were also powerless.
“In the Lardeau Valley, what they found is they needed some specialty equipment,” said Mary Jane Coules, a spokesperson for Hydro in the Kootenays. “That’s now been brought in, they’re back there this morning and it should be fairly quick to get them back on line, hopefully by this afternoon.”
“BC Hydro crews have been working around the clock to repair damage from a major snowstorm that caused more than 160,000 customers in the Central and Southern Interior to lose power,” Hydro officials said in a news release. “Despite poor weather and treacherous road conditions creating challenges for crews, more than 60 per cent of customers were restored within the first 24 hours, and 90 per cent in 48 hours.”
A winter storm dumped up to 30 cm of snow in the area on Monday and Tuesday, knocking trees down onto power lines in the heavily forested area. One commenter on a local Facebook group said they counted more than 47 trees that had fallen on power lines from Nakusp to Halcyon Hot Springs, about 30 km northwest of the village.
Most resident hunkered down for the evening and got through the New Year’s when power went off about 7 p.m..
“It’s ironic, just before the power went out I saw my two-month power bill had come via email,” says Nakusp resident Frances Batycki. “I said to [my husband] that I wasn’t going to look at it on New Year’s Eve! And then voilá, I couldn’t! Lol!”
Power was restored to most of the village by 3 p.m.
But the weather isn’t co-operating with Hydro or anyone else in the Southern Interior. Another storm is expected to dump a heavy load of snow on the region Thursday night.
“One of the things we do want to encourage our customers is to be prepared for further outages,” she says. “We are supposed to have some rough weather this weekend.”