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Eight-hour power outage coming to Tofino and Ucluelet

BC Hydro moving poles along Highway 4.
BC Hydro is moving its power poles along Hwy. 4 to make room for the road’s realignment of a roughly 1.1 kilometre stretch that’s currently underway as part of theprovincial and federal government’s $38 million Kennedy Hill Improvement Project. (Photo - BC Hydro)

Dust off your board games West Coast, BC Hydro is planning a day-long power outage next month.

Hydro will be turning off power to the entire peninsula on Sunday, March 3 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“We know that outages at any time have an impact and being able to plan for them hopefully can reduce some of that impact, so it’s important for us to get the word out,” Hydro spokesperson Karla Louwers told the Westerly News. “It’s about making sure that people are aware and prepared.”

The outage is needed as Hydro is moving roughly 16 power poles to fit the realignment of Hwy. 4 that’s currently underway as part of the provincial and federal government’s $38 million Kennedy Hill Improvement Project. The March 3 outage will be Hydro’s second, and final, day-long outage related to the road’s realignment.

“This is our final phase of work…We’ve been working on the highway for some time and now we are ready to finalize and energize the new poles,” she said. “For the most part, the poles didn’t have to move far. But, given the terrain that we were in, there was quite a bit of skill, detailed design and engineering that went into planning the placement of the new poles.”

She said Hydro collaborated with BC’s Ministry of Transportation as well as West Coast officials to choose the March 3 date.

“We were certainly aiming to have this work completed before summer, because we knew the impact to the community would be much larger the longer we waited,” she said. “And, similar to what we did during the last outage, we reached out to some contacts in the community to make sure that we weren’t picking a date that was absolutely terrible; with community events and things like that that would be happening that would create a greater impact that what we’d wish for such a large, widespread, outage.”

All West Coast residents are advised to unplug their electronics on March 3 to decrease the risk of devices being fried by the 5 p.m. power surge and Louwers added that Hydro is asking residents to turn off their heat as well so that the power demand is low when it is restored.

“When a system has been de-energized for a long period of time, like an eight-hour outage, especially at this time of year when weather conditions can be a little chillier, it’s like starting a car; it takes a little bit of time to warm up,” she said. “If the load is very high, it will take more time to restore power.”

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Andrew Bailey

About the Author: Andrew Bailey

I arrived at the Westerly News as a reporter and photographer in January 2012.
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