FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – At least one lightning strike has been confirmed to be what caused over 34,000 customers to lose power yesterday evening.
According to BC Hydro spokesperson Bob Gammer, the outage occurred at around 6:15 p.m. on Tuesday evening, and affected the entire B.C. Peace Region. Gammer says that one of the three 500 kV transmission lines that run between Hudson’s Hope and Prince George suffered a direct hit from a lightning strike, although he was not able to pinpoint the exact location of the strike. In addition, Gammer said that another lightning could have caused power outages and surges that were concentrated in the Dawson Creek area.
At the peak of last night’s outage, roughly 34,500 customers lost power, with most outages restored between 7:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. As of 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday morning, over 100 customers were still without power in isolated areas stretching from Pouce Coupe to Farmington and north of Rolla. Gammer says that crews are still working today to restore power to those areas.
Gammer stated that the incident was an extremely rare event, adding that BC Hydro’s infrastructure is equipped with numerous safeguards including lightning arrestors, circuit breakers, and surge protectors to safeguard against such events. He says that Hydro is continuing their investigation into exactly what caused the wide-spread outage.