BC Hydro crews restored electricity to hundreds of customers in the Arrow Lakes and Slocan Valley after a New Year’s storm last week.
The valleys’ customers were some of the last to have the power switched back on after a snowstorm brought trees down on power lines, cutting power for almost a day to many areas in the southern part of the province.
Nearly 600 customers around New Denver and south of Silverton along Highway 6 were still without power as of last Thursday.
Hydro was also reporting nearly two dozen separate problems up and down the Arrow Lakes Valley, from north of Nakusp to Edgewood, Fauquier and Needles south of the village. Many communities along Highway 31 north of Kootenay Lake were also powerless.
“In the Lardeau Valley, they found they needed some specialty equipment,” said Mary Jane Coules, a spokesperson for BC Hydro in the Kootenays.
“BC Hydro crews have been working around the clock to repair damage from a major snowstorm that caused more than 160,000 customers in the Central and Southern Interior to lose power,” Hydro officials said in a news release. “Despite poor weather and treacherous road conditions creating challenges for crews, more than 60 per cent of customers were restored within the first 24 hours, and 90 per cent in 48 hours.”
A winter storm dumped up to 30 cm of snow in the area last week, knocking trees down onto power lines in the heavily forested area. One commenter on a local Facebook group counted 47 trees that had fallen on power lines from Nakusp to Halcyon Hot Springs.
Most resident hunkered down for the evening and got through the New Year when power went off about 7 p.m..
“It’s ironic, just before the power went out I saw my two-month power bill had come via email,” says Nakusp resident Frances Batycki. “I said to [my husband] that I wasn’t going to look at it on New Year’s Eve! And then voilá, I couldn’t!”
Power was restored to most of the village by 3 p.m. the next day.