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BC Hydro says more power outages possible with heavy snow, freezing rain in forecast

With snow in the forecast for tomorrow night into Wednesday, BC Hydro says there is a risk of power outages, and you should be prepared.

Community relations manager Ted Olynyk says there is always a concern for outages when these conditions are forecast, especially because it can be very unpredictable.

“We don’t know how it will play out. We could have just some heavy, wet snow which of course will bring branches and trees down onto the lines,” said Olynyk.

“Depending on how the temperature works out, the possibility of freezing rain as well and [it’s] always a reminder to make sure you’ve got an emergency kit, make sure you’re prepared.”

Olynyk adds there is always the concern of access to certain areas for fixes, which could prolong the time it takes to turn the lights back on.

“Depending on how much snow we get, getting into the more rural areas, access can be a problem because roads would not have been cleared when the power goes out,” said Olynyk.

“It’s a challenge even though they are big, heavy trucks with chains, it can still be challenging for crews to get in there because of the amount of snow, icy conditions or vehicles blocking traffic or even having trees come across the road.”

The possibility of falling lines can bring an added element of danger to these storms. Olynyk says you should always report a downed line, but take extra care and caution in case the line is still live.

“If you see a downed line, stay 10 metres back or the length of a city bus,” said Olynyk. “You never know if the line is still energized.

“It could be energized, we try to bring it on remotely or someone in the area has a generator and it’s not wired properly, it’s just plugged into the back of the house. That just feeds right back into the line and makes a live line again.”

Olynyk adds putting together an emergency kit is very important in the case of a power outage, especially when it could be uncertain when electricity could be restored.

He says you should always have fresh batteries in your flashlight and keep your electronics charged so you can stay updated on the power situation.

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