The investigation continues into an incident that knocked out power to Gabriola and Mudge islands in late September. Gabriolans didn't have access to 911 during the incident.

The investigation continues into an incident that knocked out power to Gabriola and Mudge islands in late September. Gabriolans didn't have access to 911 during the incident.

Investigation continues into cause of Gabriola power outage

NANAIMO – Incident knocked out communications and power to Gabriola and Mudge islands in late September.

Investigation into an incident that knocked out communications and power to Gabriola and Mudge islands in late September continues.

Residents on those islands were without power, Internet and phone service between the night of Sept. 27 and the afternoon of Sept. 29 as B.C. Hydro and Telus crews worked to restore lines.

A barge with a crane was in the area of Dodds Narrows, where the lines connect from Vancouver Island to Gabriola and Mudge, at the time of the outage.

In an e-mail, Natasha Gauthier, Transport Canada spokeswoman, said the ministry is conducting a compliance inspection on the tug and its operator to determine if there were any violations of the Canada Shipping Act.

Ted Olynyk, B.C. Hydro spokesman, said his organization will seek to recover costs on behalf of ratepayers in relation to the incident.

It led to a power outage for 3,000 customers on the two islands.

“As a result of a third party, we will be seeking damages,” said Olynyk. “We’re still investigating further exactly who. We don’t know who exactly will be paying.”

Olynyk said the bill for restoration was still being tallied.

Mohan Raman, Pacific region manager of marine operations for the Transportation Safety Board of Canada, an independent arm of the federal government that investigates marine accidents, said his organization will not be investigating as it doesn’t see any deficiencies that can be caused by the vessel.

“On the West Coast, we actually get about 400 or so occurrences, but of that we only investigate maybe about 10 or 15, which has some safety deficiencies that the industry needs to be advised,” said Raman.

Howard Houle, Regional District of Nanaimo director for the islands, said the incident caused “considerable grief” to Mudge and Gabriola residents.

Besides a call from B.C. Hydro the morning after the incident, Houle said he hasn’t heard anything since.

“It is a concern because, of course, we do need to know what happened and how we can prevent that in the future,” said Houle.