Snow laden trees during Tuesday’s blizzard were at the root of 7,000+ households losing electricity later in the night.
“The outages were weather related, the result of trees falling on our lines as a result of the heavy snowfall,” FortisBC’s Nicole Bogdanovic told the Trail Times. “Crews restored power to about 6,500 customers in the West Kootenay last night.”
Reports of a bright blue flash in West Trail began to surface online just after 8 p.m.
Wednesday morning, Trail Times editor Guy Bertrand recounted witnessing bright flashes from his home in Shavers Bench and hearing buzzing sounds shortly thereafter.
Bogdanovic says those incidents may be par for the course during extreme weather events.
“Customers may hear a loud sound when our system is impacted, that is the sound that is made when high voltage electricity is abruptly interrupted,” she explained. “It means the system was working as it should and a component failed instead of continuing to conduct electricity.”
Of the thousands who were in the dark for varying stretches of time, Bogdanovic confirmed about 1,000 customers in Glenmerry lost power at 8 p.m. and were restored just after 11 p.m.
Approximately 4,000 customers in Ross Spur, Salmo and Fruitvale lost power at about 9 p.m. The Fruitvale area was restored just after 9:30 p.m. and the remaining customers were restored just after 2:30 a.m.
Wednesday morning, FortisBC crews were working to clear foliage from a line that was still impacting about 1, 000 residences in Castlegar, Blueberry, Fairview, and Genelle.
Bogdanovic said power was expected to be restored in those areas by Wednesday afternoon.
Additionally, about 300 customers in the areas of Cottonwood, Whitewater Ski Resort and Ymir lost power just before 9 p.m. and were restored within seven hours.
Customers in Passmore and Slocan City went the longest without power. About 1,250 residents lost electricity half past noon on Tuesday, and stayed in the dark until just before 3 a.m. the following morning.
“Other small pockets of customers remain without power in parts of the West Kootenay, and our crews are working hard to assess damage and safely restore power to these customers as quickly as possible,” Bogdanovic said. “We recognize the inconvenience to our customers and appreciate their patience and understanding while our crews work to restore power.”
Due to the high level of weather-rated outages, in some cases, restoration time was not available by press time.
Bogdanovic encouraged residents to check for updates on the company’s website, outages.fortisbc.com, or by calling 1.866.436.7847.
“This is a good reminder to take steps to stay safe during storms,” she concluded. “And be prepared in the event of service outages.”
To report an outage, downed wires or poles, call FortisBC at 1.866.436.7847.