Thousands left in the dark

The system blew a fuse.

The system blew a fuse.

That’s the reason close to 3,000 residents from the west end of Salmon Arm down the Salmon River Valley to Highway 97A were plunged into darkness just after 9 p.m. Monday.

BC Hydro Community Relations rep Gene Bryant said crews were busy repairing a pole on Bolton Road in Tappen following a fire, when a fuse blew at the corner of Fifth Avenue and Fifth Street by Salmon Arm’s Blackburn Park.

“The good news was crews were already out and didn’t have to be dispatched from their homes,” he said, noting the fire at the top of the hydro pole only affected two homes.

The not-so-good news was that while only one-third of the 2,922 customers were affected by the blown fuse, in order to make repairs, power had to be shut down to the remaining two-thirds.

Following repairs, the whole line then had to be patrolled before power could be turned on, leaving residents in the dark until 12:44 a.m.

Bryant says  trying to determine the cause of the equipment failure is difficult.

“After the fact it’s hard to say, it’s like looking for the smoking gun, it’s hard to find,” Bryant says. “It’s generally some type of insulator or wire problem, but was it a branch that hit the wire, was it equipment?”

Bryant says the new Smart Meter system BC Hydro plans to install will be able to immediately pinpoint the source of an outage, preventing long delays in restoring service.


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