About 2,500 Sidney residents — roughly a quarter of the municipality’s population — were without power for several hours Tuesday, March 24, after a crane working on Mills Roads knocked down a power line.
Ted Olynyk, manager of community relations for BC Hydro responsible for Vancouver-Island and Sunshine Coast, said the collision burnt the line and required two crews to respond, the first to make the area safe, the second to make repairs.
Power went out just before noon, with the first crew responding within 20 minutes, he said. The second crew arrived on scene just around 1:30 p.m. to replace the burnt line with power restored around 5:30 p.m.
Olynyk said he did not know whose crane touched the line.
“This was a third-party outage and the crews responded very fast to the outage from the information that I have seen,” he said. “It shows that how we laid things out, is working well.”
@SidneyVFire on scene a hydro accident on Malaview Ave between Fifth Street and Resthaven Drive. No vehicle or pedestrian traffic through until further notice. @bchydro #yyjtraffic #yyjnews #sidney #yyj
— SidneyVFire (@SidneyVFire) March 24, 2020
So how did COVID-19 impact repairs?
“Although we are instituting an isolation policy and crews are staying at home until called out, the response by the crews was quite fast,” he said.
Olynyk said during a normal working day, crews could be anywhere in the Capital Regional District. While Sidney might be part of Greater Victoria, crews responding to incidents in Sidney might be arriving from Colwood, Esquimalt, and downtown Victoria. They would have to wrap up their work in safe manner, then come to Sidney, he said. “Because we are not doing any planned outage work right now, it actually made it quicker for the crews to respond because they were available,” he said.
Olynyk said he is not aware of any complaints from customers. “I know it’s a challenge right now,” he said. “This is why we have stopped doing planned outage work, which would normally cause any outage. We realize people are at home. They probably have a lot more groceries in their fridge than normally and working from home. We are very cognizant of that.”
This said, there may be times, when the response might be delayed. “But in this instance, knowing how long it would take to respond to an outage like this in Sidney, it was quite fast.”
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