Thursday November 4, 2021 | LANGFORD, BC [Updated 7 pm]
by Mary P Brooke, Editor | Island Social Trends
As many as 658 BC Hydro customers will be without power in the South Langford area during the overnight from Thursday November 18 to early morning Friday November 19.
This is to safely enable some planned equipment-related work, says BC Hydro.
Residents and commercial customers in the area received notification this week about the upcoming winter-time interruption of electrical service. Notification went out by postcard, email and/or auto-dialer.
Aging equipment and or damage from recent storms are the usual reasons for planned outages.
The targeted South Langford upgrade is for jumper reconfiguration, as part of system upgrades. A jumper is a short length of conductor used to close, open or bypass part of an electronic circuit. Jumpers are typically used to set up or configure printed circuit boards, such as the motherboards of computers. For an electrical utility, jumpers run between transmission lines.
Why South Langford:
There is a lot of new development in the South Langford area, with brand new housing along Sooke Road, along Latoria, and within the Happy Valley neighbourhood.
In the Happy Valley area, impacted streets during the November 18-19 outage include Hazelwood, Marwood, Brown, Merlin, and Piper.
Other older areas of the neighbourhood will see their power off as well, including old Westhills (e.g. Langford Lake Road, Parkdale), Glen Lake Road, Latoria area (e.g. along Sooke Road and on Penwood Road), older Langford area (Ronald Road, Chan Place), and in Happy Valley (including Marwood, Hazelwood, Merlin and Piper).
Why now, in winter:
“We have had some weather impacts recently that may be a factor in the volume of planned work over the next couple of weeks,” says BC Hydro rep Karla Louwers, Public Affairs Coordinator, Vancouver Island – Sunshine Coast Community Relations.
“Some planned outages may have been pushed out due to recent storm activity, or storm activity could have resulted in damage to infrastructure that now needs repair,” says Louwers.
Preparation for cold, no light, no electronics:
- This is cool winter weather. People will want to prepare for heat considerations during the outage. Households that heat entirely by electricity may be the most impacted.
- Lights will be out. Battery-operated lighting is one option.
- Electronics will be off. Any TVs, security systems or other electronics that rely on electricity will be inoperable unless there is battery backup.
- Mobile communications will be important. Pre-charging phones and other mobile devices is the smart thing to do.
- Clocks: If you rely on clocks that are on appliances or TVs, you’ll need to shift to looking at your phone.
“Planned Outages are not uncommon on our distribution system,” says Louwers.
“The work conducted during a planned outage allows us to replace end of life equipment, make repairs or improvements to equipment or the electrical system as a whole. The work may include emergency repairs, vegetation work, system upgrades, maintenance, new connections and other infrastructure-related work such as pole replacements and voltage conversions,” said Louwers in a statement to Island Social Trends this week.
“This planned work improves reliability and helps prevent unexpected system failures and outages that are often longer in duration and more disruptive,” she said.
BC Hydro says in their notice to customers: “We understand that outages are inconvenient, and we appreciate your patience.”
Giving notice to customers:
If there are businesses impacted by a planned outage, BC Hydro aims to provided a minimum of 10 business days notice.
If the impact is residential customers, BC Hydro aims to provide a minimum of 5 business days notice.
Regarding notification, for customers that have up-to-date contact information listed on their account, an automated email or phone message will be sent with outage details. In addition to automated messages, a postcard with outage details is mailed to the service address location.
Planned outages are posted online, www.bchydro.com/outages, about 2 weeks in advance of the work.
For affected customers, they are advised to do the following *before* the outage begins: turn off electric heaters and major appliances, and unplug sensitive electronics to protect them from damage. If you rely on electric medical equipment or access doors, have a plan to maintain use.
Staying warm during the outage may take some planning depending on the timing and duration of the outage.
“Some people may choose to leave their home and head to a location not impacted by the outage (friends / family, recreation centre, retail establishment, etc),” says Louwers.
“Many also ensure their home is heated prior to the outage and use extra layers to keep warm. BC Hydro will consider cancelling planned work if there are expected extreme drops in temperature,” the BC Hydro rep says.
It is worth mentioning what *not* to do to stay warm. Never use a camp stove, barbecue, or propane or kerosene heaters indoors. This can cause a build up of carbon monoxide gas that can be deadly.