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Cowichan back up and running after long outages

BC Hydro crews work on lines on Cowichan Lake Road last week, restoring power to 11,000 customers. - Lexi Bainas/Citizen
BC Hydro crews work on lines on Cowichan Lake Road last week, restoring power to 11,000 customers.
— image credit: Lexi Bainas/Citizen

Approximately 70 BC Hydro customers in Duncan had to wait until late Saturday afternoon to get power back following an intensely busy period for Hydro workers after several snowstorms walloped the Cowichan Valley last week, taking out power to 11,000 at the peak of the outages.

Eight hundred people in the Cowichan Valley were still without power Friday morning after the last snowstorm hit the region on Wednesday.

Most of those customers were in the Lake Cowichan and Shawnigan Lake areas, which were hard hit by heavy snow that took down power poles and lines.

“The Cowichan Valley was one of the hardest hit regions on the Island during the latest winter storm,” BC Hydro spokesman Ted Olynyk said Friday.

“An amazing amount of snow fell there. It looks to me like the top of Mount Washington in the middle of winter in the Shawnigan Lake area.”

But Olynyk said that with the snow melting fast as temperatures rise, the ground is becoming so saturated in the Valley that many trees are becoming unstable, and fears are they will fall over and take out more power lines.

“We’re reminding people that if they come across downed power lines to not remove the branches from the lines because they could still be energized. Just stay far away and call 911.”

BC Hydro crews worked throughout the night Thursday to restore power to hard-hit areas in the Lower Mainland and on Vancouver Island.

More than 100 spans of downed power lines needed replacing, as well as multiple broken power poles.

BC Hydro had about 250 power line technicians working hard to restore power to customers and crews were brought in from other areas of the province to assist with restoration efforts.

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