BC Hydro report says climate change events cause worse storms, more outages

B.C. Hydro workers repair power lines above the remains of mobile homes destroyed by wildfire in Boston Flats near Ashcroft, B.C., on Sunday July 9, 2017. A report from BC Hydro says despite soaring numbers of powerful storms or wildfires that cause power outages, the Crown utility is still managing to respond quickly to trouble spots through the use of new technology.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

VANCOUVER - A report from BC Hydro says despite soaring numbers of powerful storms or wildfires that cause power outages, the Crown utility is still managing to respond quickly to trouble spots through the use of new technology.

The report looked at the effects of increasingly severe weather systems which Hydro blames on climate change.

It shows the number of storms requiring a response from repair crews has tripled since 2013, while the number of customers affected by an outage has jumped from 323,000 in 2013 to nearly 1.2 million last year.

The utility says its smart meter network, which provides constant feedback on a customer's electricity use, helps crews quickly respond to outages.

It says other advances in weather-forecasting models aid in more accurately predicting and tracking storms.

Chris O’Riley, Hydro's chief operating officer, says in a release that despite higher numbers of storms and fires, the use of new technology and processes is allowing crews to restore power almost as quickly as they did when such events were less intense.

"In fact, about 95 per cent of customers’ power is restored within 24 hours following an extreme event," said O'Riley.

Hydro recommends residents prepare for weather-related outages by having a well-stocked emergency kit ready, and by staying at least the length of a city bus away from any downed or damaged power line.


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