Cables to boost Hydro service to Opitsaht, Ahousaht

BC Hydro began the first segment of a significant energy delivery system upgrade on April 23. Tofino’s First Street Dock will be restricted to pedestrian-trafficonly from April 23-28 and blasting will be done in the area as Hydro installs a new manhole to kick off an upgrade project that will boost its energy delivery capacity to Opitsaht and Ahousaht.

BC Hydro’s current energy distribution system involves two submarine cables running from Tofino to Opitsaht and then on to Ahousaht, according to BC Hydro spokesperson Karla Louwers.

“The current system that delivers power to Opitsaht and Ahousaht is at maximum capacity particularly in the winter months when demand for power is the highest,” she said. “We’ve initiated a project to invest in that to ensure the communities will have reliable power for years to come.”

Hydro will install two additional submarine cables from Tofino to Opitsaht to create a three-phase system with one cable left for contingency, according to Louwers. The cable system running from Opitsaht to Ahousaht-approx. 20 km- will be replaced and added to.

“That cable system is at end of life and at capacity so we’ll be adding four new submarine cables; two of those will replace the existing cables and two will be additional cables,” Louwers said.

The new manhole near First Street Dock is required before this work can begin and while it is being installed Emergency Service Vehicles will use the 4th Street dock, Louwers said.

She is confident this portion of the work will be done by April 28 and said any changes will be communicated to the public. “If we happen to complete it ahead of schedule we’ll definitely communicate that out and if we see any delays that we didn’t expect we’ll communicate that out as well,” she said adding the work is not contingent upon choice weather conditions.

“Good weather always is favourable but we’ll be able to complete the work regardless.”

reporter@westerlynews.ca