About 12,000 customers are without power druing a wind storm Monday afternoon. (File photo)

About 12,000 customers are without power druing a wind storm Monday afternoon. (File photo)

Residents across North Thompson Valley say power has been restored

While their power may be on, many residents concerned about how long it took to bring it back

UPDATE Tuesday, 6:32 p.m.: After 25 hours in the dark for some, it seems those in the North Thompson Valley are once again seeing the light.

While power was brought back in a couple of hours for residents from Rayleigh to Little Fort, and by about 11 p.m. for those in and around Clearwater, folks from Birch Island to McBride became frustrated as their homes were dark for over 24 hours.

The problem that caused the lengthy power outage was a damaged pole north of Birch Island, only accessible by ATV. But, after quite a few hours Tuesday afternoon, BC Hydro seems to have fixed the problem, according to the outage page on their website.

Though many households experienced a brief break in service Tuesday evening, residents are reporting their lights are still burning bright. The momentary outage happened as BC Hydro crews confirmed no other damage need to be repaired and re-energized the system.

4:14 p.m.: The District of Clearwater has posted to Facebook the BC Hydro has announced a potential break in service with a scheduled power outage.

“We may experience a short power outage sometime between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m., March 30, 2021, due to BC Hydro needing to de-energize the line from Kamloops to Vavenby before they can re-energize the entire line from Kamloops to the Valemount substation,” the post says.

3:31 p.m.: An update to BC Hydro’s power outage list now says the estimated time for restoring power to those still left in the dark is 6 p.m.

Crews in the area were able to access the pole near Birch Island by ATV only, slowing them down a bit, said BC Hydro communications representative, Jennifer Walker-Larson. This has forced them to change the restoration time to 6 p.m. tonight, though they are up the pole and working quickly to restore power.

“We still have customers out from Avola north to Valemount, although we have been able to supply some Valemount customers with back-up power through the local Independent Power Producers and the McBride diesel back-up generator,” she said.

1:56 p.m.: Rumours of a planned power outage between 2 p.m. and 1o p.m. this afternoon because they “didn’t fix the problem last night” are untrue.

“The problem that caused yesterday’s outage is a damaged pole just north of Birch Island,” said BC Hydro communications representative, Jennifer Walker-Larson. “We are not planning an outage later today. We expect to get everyone back on this afternoon.”

The power outage Monday night, as well as the continued power issues today, were caused by the transmission pole, which BC Hydro expects to have repaired and power restored by 3 p.m. this afternoon.

11:43 a.m.: Many BC Hydro customers had their power restored overnight, though about 1,100 households are still without, according to Jennifer Walker-Larson, communications representative for BC Hydro.

Residents from south of Avola to Valemount are still without power. Those in and around McBride also are without power, though local crews have been working to connect as many customers as possible to a generating system.

A helicopter was sent out this morning to find any possible damage to the lines and found a damaged transmission pole with a broken cross arm just north of Birch Island. Crews will be sent to the site and they expect to make the repairs and have power restored to all customers by 3 p.m. this afternoon.

Monday, 8:39 p.m.: The District of Clearwater is reporting BC Hydro crew are working on re-energizing the system. Providing there are no further issues or trouble spots, the power should be restored within the hour.

6:52 p.m.: Residents in Rayleigh, Barriere and Little Fort have noted their power is back. A look at BC Hydro’s outage page shows various sections have been restored. For a handful of the outages, a fallen tree was to blame.

Some report power is back in Valemount, though it is unknown at this time how many have restored power.

Residents from Blackpool up to McBride, however, still seem to be without power. Crews are on site, according to BC Hydro.

More to come.

5:13 p.m.: Thousands of customers are without power in the North Thompson Valley due to a transmission, circuit failure, according to BC Hydro.

The outage occurred just before 4 p.m., during a huge windstorm, leaving homes and businesses in the dark in communities as far south as Rayleigh and as far north as McBride. About 12,000 customers (or households) have been affected by the blackout, said BC Hydro spokesperson Dave Mosher.

He added it is unknown what caused the outage at this time or when they will be able to turn the power back on. Currently, crews are on scene to inspect the transmission line, which runs through the North Thompson Valley and serves all customers affected.

BC Hydro provides regular outage updates, on their website, which can be accessed here.

More to come.

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