Power outage Saturday Sept. 7

  • Aug. 20, 2013 4:00 p.m.

South-end residents may want to make coffee and breakfast early and spend the day at the beach Sept. 7 as BC Hydro plans a 10-hour long power outage. The lengthy Saturday outage is required for crews to conduct vital tests on the submarine cables that carry power from Moresby to Graham Island, said Dave Mosure, BC Hydro’s northern community relations coordinator. The cables are 40 years old and coming to the end of their life span, Mr. Mosure said. The tests scheduled for Sept. 7 will reveal whether the cables can be rejuvenated, or whether they need to be completely replaced. “The testing is absolutely necessary and will give us the information we need,” Mr. Mosure said. “We’re really anxious to get it done because it’s important to have reliable power.” The outage will affect customers in Queen Charlotte, Skidegate and Tlell, and points between. It’s scheduled to last from 7 am until 5 pm. BC Hydro planned to do the testing last year and scheduled a full-day outage, but had to cancel it due to rain, Mr. Mosure said. The tests require dry weather. It’s always difficult to find a good time for a full-day power outage, he said. Although many planned outages take place on Sunday, Hydro chose to schedule this one on a Saturday because it will result in significant cost savings, as the crew will mobilize on Friday at their regular wage rate, and work overtime on Saturday. If the outage were on Sunday, he said, Hydro would end up paying the overtime rate for two days rather than one. “It’s a real juggling act,” he said, adding that Hydro consulted with local governments and businesses before choosing the date. “We try to work with the local business community… Saturday seemed like the best time.” Crew members will be coming from off-island for the Sept. 7 cable testing. There are four cables, Mr. Mosure said, and all must be evaluated. If the tests reveal that the cables can be rejuvenated, that work can be done almost immediately, he said. If the tests reveal that a complete replacement is needed, that will require much more time and money, he said. It will cost an estimated $300,000 to rejuvenate these cables, and up to $3-million to replace them.