Corroded connections to blame in Masset outage

  • Nov. 16, 2007 10:00 a.m.

BC Hydro says corroded connections to a transformer were responsible for a Nov. 10 voltage fluctuation which melted equipment at Masset internet provider MHTV. Spokesperson Bob Gammar said linemen responded as soon as they could to an early morning report of arcing at the transformer and irregular voltage. “They discovered corroded connections to the transformer, that was determined to be the cause,” Mr. Gammar said. “The transformer did not fail.” The linemen shut off power to the buildings served by the transformer and repaired it. Mr. Gammar said he is not sure what caused the connections to corrode. Possible causes include wear and tear, and the salty air conditions on the islands. The extra voltage caused an estimated $5,000 to $7,000 worth of damage at MHTV and left the north end without internet or cable TV service for most of the day. MHTV technical director Mike McLeod said the situation could have been even worse. When he and others responded, they could smell smoke before they shut off the power. Mr. Gammar said BC Hydro makes case-by-case decisions on claims for damages, but in general, the power provider does not provide compensation unless a customer can show that the damage was the result of employee negligence. Meanwhile, he advises customers that if they experience unusual power fluctuations or see sparks flying from transformers, they should call BC Hydro right away at 1-888-POWERON and report the location.