Power back for 99% of B.C. residents were hit by a storm


BC Hydro has restored electricity to 99 percent of homes caught up in a massive power outage after the windstorm last Thursday and expects the lights to turn on for the remaining 6,500 customers on New Year's Eve.

Nearly 120 utility crews and 900 personnel were on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands on Wednesday, on Day 6 of the restoration effort.

"At the end of the day [on Thursday], we must have almost everyone back in power on Vancouver Island and our focus now is on the Gulf Islands, where some major network rebuilding areas are needed, "BC Hydro president Chris O & # 39; Riley said in a statement.

More than 700,000 customers have restored power since the storm.

A number of Hydro BC trucks are seen on the ferry to Vancouver Island on Saturday. (Michael Laviolette / Facebook)

A stressful vacation

For thousands of people caught up in the blackout this week, surviving the holiday season in the dark is not easy.

Some areas on Vancouver Island and Pulau Mata Air Asin also lack portable water, as well as electricity.

"It was very stressful, was there with one of the worst experiences I've ever had," said Darrel Siegle, who lives in Duncan, BC, with his young family.

The hardest part is not knowing when life will return to normal, he said.

The power of Siegle went out on Thursday morning and, after spending a cold night at home, the family fled to their mother-in-law's place. At one point, nine people entered his small house during the holidays.

"If we don't have a family, it will be a struggle," Siegle said.

The lights went back on Wednesday afternoon, right after he finished "cleaning" the spoiled fridge and freezer.

BC Hydro said it would take up to New Year's Eve to restore power to all British Colombians after the windstorm last Thursday. (BC Hydro)

& # 39; Christmas destroyed & # 39;

For some people, it will still be a few days before they can return home.

Shakeira Wynde lives on Galiano Island but has not been able to return home since December 19.

He departed Thursday morning to Vancouver Island to spend Christmas shopping days and could not return since.

"My mind is a bit overwhelmed," he said. "You look forward to pleasant and pleasant times and then Christmas is destroyed."

Recovering power will take longer in the Gulf Islands due to extensive damage to the network, BC Hydro said. (BC Hydro)

Wynde spent Christmas on Mayne Island, where power had been restored, and had to abandon his original vacation plans – like taking a group of girlfriends to a dinner party.

He estimates he is several thousand dollars between paying for unexpected hotel rooms and replacing important items left in the house such as warm clothes.

"I have bought steaks and seafood that are very tasty and all kinds of things for holidays," he said. "When I go home, I have to throw it all in the trash."

However, for some communities, power outages are an opportunity for communities to gather together during holidays.

Chris Levan, minister of the United Church on Salt Spring Island, helped organize a Christmas dinner on December 25.

Hundreds of people came for Christmas dinner at the Salt Spring United Church. (Ellen Vesterdal)

Almost everyone at dinner has no power, including him and his wife, Levan said.

"It's a good way to eat turkey dinners so they can't cook in other ways," Levan said.

"It was amazing. I was really impressed with the care given."

Fire and carbon monoxide warnings

The ongoing blackout on Galiano Island has triggered a warning from the head of the community voluntary fire department.

Karen Harris said that residents in all circumstances should not carry equipment that burns fuel such as a barbecue, generator or indoor stove.

"Carbon monoxide poisoning is a possible danger," Harris said. "Be careful with food stoves … We also have limited emergency resources."

Power is not expected to be returned to Galiano Island until December 29.


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