To the Editor,
On Thursday, Dec. 20, a significant windstorm hit Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands, the Lower Mainland, and the Fraser Valley. It was the most damaging storm in our company’s history, and we want to thank our customers for their patience as we worked to repair the significant damage and bring everyone’s power back safely.
A total of 756,000 customers were impacted, making it larger than the August 2015 windstorm that affected the Lower Mainland and the Fraser Valley, and larger than the 2006 windstorm that hit Vancouver Island and devastated Stanley Park in Vancouver.
Part of the reason this storm was so significant was that it came after a period of heavy rain that saturated the ground, which affected the stability of trees and soil. When the winds hit, they were very strong, measuring over 100 km/h in several areas.
Over the course of the storm, our crews had around 5,000 individual work orders or trouble calls to dispatch, including outages, downed wires, and trees on our lines. For comparison, we typically see around 300 trouble calls in an average storm event. These repairs were made more challenging in the locations where damage was the worst.
While we’re proud of how our crews responded and the quick restoration for many of our customers who were affected, the storm brings lessons for us to consider. For example, we heard from many of you who had challenges reporting downed lines in your community, and that’s something we will be taking away as an area to improve.
We know that the longer outages that many of our customers experienced during this event were inconvenient and for many stressful, given the season. On behalf of BC Hydro, I want to thank all our customers for their understanding and patience as we worked to bring power back safely to everyone impacted by this storm.
I also want to thank the many partners who supported us during this event, from the first responders to helped keep communities safe, to all the local businesses that provided accommodations and food for our crews.
president and COO,