Year In Review — Power out for eight hours

A power outage in October left the community in the dark for close to eight hours.

A power outage in October left the community in the dark for close to eight hours.

The outage on Oct. 16 began at 11:15 a.m. when a tree toppled in a wind storm, downing a power line between Summerland and Penticton.

While power in Penticton was restored quickly, Summerland remained without power until around 7 p.m.

Before power could be restored, crews had to reposition the transmission line.

Tracy Tang, corporate communications advisor with FortisBC, said damage to power lines as a result of strong winds can also result in damage to conductors and insulators. This increases the time needed for the repairs.

The outage also led to complaints from within Summerland.

Mayor Janice Perrino said the 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 the outage meant the early end to the business day for many Summerland businesses.

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

The power line along Highway 97 is the only electrical service coming in to Summerland. Officials at FortisBC do not plan to add a second line at this time.

Summerland has gone through other lengthy power outages, including one on Dec. 19, 2008, when power was out from 9:41 a.m. until after 4 p.m. when a transformer at the Prairie Valley substation failed.

 

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