Downed power lines FortisBC crews worked to restore power on Oct. 16 after a tree

Summerland has had long outages in past

Lost day of business in Penticton as outage lasted almost eight hours.

  • Oct. 23, 2012 10:00 a.m.

 

It was almost a day of lost business as power to Summerland was off for close to eight hours last Tuesday.

Power was out around 11:15 a.m. when a tree toppled in a wind storm, downing power lines between Penticton and Summerland.

Power in Penticton was restored quickly, but in Summerland, the power remained off until around 7 p.m.

Tracy Tang, corporate communications advisor with FortisBC, said crews were able to quickly isolate the troubled section of the line and restore power to Penticton.

For Summerland customers, the transmission line had to be repositioned and restored.

The transmission line feeds three substations. Each substation can power up to 2,000 customers.

Tang said damage to lines as a result of strong winds can also result in damage to conductors and insulators, adding to the time it takes for repairs.

Mayor Janice Perrino said the power outage was “excessively long.”

“It was a loss of business and a tremendous inconvenience,” she said.

Arlene Fenrich, president of the Summerland Chamber of Economic Development and Tourism, said businesses were hit hard by the loss of power.

“Unfortunately most businesses appeared to experience a loss of business for the day. Many stores and professional shops closed as soon as it was determined that the power would likely be out for some time. Being unable to receive calls, process card payments and operate required machinery makes operating without power a major challenge for most,” she said.

The power line along Highway 97 is the only line bringing electrical power into Summerland.

With a second line in place, the effects of the outage would have been much less severe, but Ruth Sullentich, a communications advisor with FortisBC, said there are no plans to add another power line to the community.

“We don’t think it’s necessary at this time,” she said. She added that other smaller communities in the province have just one line supplying power.

Summerland has had other lengthy power outages in the past.

On Dec. 19, 2008, power in most of Summerland was out from 9:41 a.m. to after 4 p.m. when a transformer at the Prairie Valley substation failed. Perrino said the power failure last week was not a result of a transmitter failure.

 

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