B.C. Hydro and tree service crews work on a section of Nanaimo River Road which suffered extensive damage to power lines when trees were toppled by powerful winds Thursday. CHRIS BUSH/ The News Bulletin

B.C. Hydro and tree service crews work on a section of Nanaimo River Road which suffered extensive damage to power lines when trees were toppled by powerful winds Thursday. CHRIS BUSH/ The News Bulletin

B.C. Hydro crews untangling wind storm damage in Nanaimo

Nanaimo was hardest hit in the region; some customers could be without power through the weekend

B.C. Hydro crews are scrambling to get power restored following Thursday’s wind storm that damaged power lines and knocked out hydro service to communities throughout the south B.C. Coast.

At one point about 400,000 customers were without power and as of Friday afternoon about 70,000 customers on the Island were still without power and about 35,000 of those were in the Nanaimo region, according to B.C. Hydro’s website.

Ted Olynyk, B.C. Hydro spokesman, said the Nanaimo area was hit the hardest by the storm in terms of infrastructure damage.

“A lot of damage,” Olynyk said.

Hydro crews and tree trimming companies were massed on a section of Nanaimo River Road, near White Rapids Road where trees took down about one kilometre of power lines. The work was a priority to restore power to Nanaimo’s South Fork Road Water Treatment Plant that supplies most of the city’s drinking water.

Olynyk said repairs are prioritized based on safety and then getting customers back on line.

“We prioritize safety. First we deal with downed lines and then we bring on as many customers as we can. That’s always a priority,” he said.

Olynyk could not say for certain how long it will take to restore power to most customers. Some areas, such as Gabriola Island, Cedar and Yellow Point, suffered extensive power infrastructure damage and there were still many areas crews had been unable to get to and it might be Sunday before some areas have power restored.

There are still many areas where power line are down and some could still be carrying current.

“Stay 10 metres back from downed lines,” Olynyk said.

To keep up to date on how restoration work is progressing and power-related issues, visit B.C. Hydro’s Powersmart website at www.bchydro.com.

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