B.C. Hydro is looking to link with FortisBC to back up West Kelowna’s power grid - InfoNews

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B.C. Hydro is looking to link with FortisBC to back up West Kelowna’s power grid

West Kelowna's only power line connects the Shannon Lake substation to Merritt. A new line is proposed to connect to FortisBC in Kelowna.
Image Credit: ipernity.com
May 11, 2020 - 5:30 PM

After more than a decade of West Kelowna City Council urging B.C. Hydro to put in a second power line, it looks like a new route could be on the way.

Ever since West Kelowna was incorporated in 2007 it has lobbied B.C. Hydro to build a second power line out of fear that forest fires or other natural disasters could leave the city, Peachland and Westbank First Nation in a prolonged power outage.

The current line is through rough wilderness between Merritt and West Kelowna.

A report going to council May 12 says there will be a discussion later this month with Hydro about a possible link with FortisBC’s Saucier substation in Kelowna.

About a year ago, Hydro switched from suggesting a second transmission line from Merritt to West Kelowna in favour of exploring a "resiliency" option of upgrading and protecting the existing line.

“The City was pleased to receive a letter from B.C. Hydro in late April 2020 reaffirming that this capital project is proceeding and that, based on their detailed review and evaluation, a resiliency alternative would not protect the existing, single transmission line from wildfires,” the report states.

Hydro, instead, is now suggesting the connection across Okanagan Lake instead.

The “high level” meeting between Hydro and senior staff this month will be followed by an update to council this summer.

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