Surge melts TV equipment in Masset

  • Nov. 14, 2007 4:00 p.m.

Masset and Old Massett residents were left with no television or internet service for most of the day Saturday (Nov. 10) after an early-morning power surge melted equipment at the MHTV office on Main Street. The extra voltage could have caused a fire, said MHTV technical director Mike McLeod, but luckily a couple of people were on the scene by 3:30 am and managed to shut off the power once they realized what was happening. Mr. McLeod said the original surge happened around 2 am, from what he can tell. MHTV’s network monitoring centre in Vancouver noticed something was wrong and first sent an email, then telephoned him by about 3 am. He drove to the MHTV office immediately. “There was the acrid smell of burnt wiring as soon as I entered the building,” he said. Copper wires and the plastic plug in the power supply had melted, as had electrical cables and copper cables. Some of the cables were connected to a plywood board, which was scorched. It took Mr. McLeod, a cable technician and an electrician 14 hours to get the system up and running again. MHTV was not the only business affected by the power surge, he said. Sandy’s hair salon, TLC Automotive and the QCI Rec office next door to MHTV all had various problems caused by the electrical malfunction. MHTV has not yet tallied how much the damage will cost to fix, but Mr. McLeod said he estimates it will be between $5,000 and $7,000. If the surge had sparked a fire inside the MHTV building, the north end could have been without internet and television for as long as a month, he said. “It was an eyeopener, that’s for sure,” he said. “It could have been worse. We could have had our tech electrocuted, we could have had a fire.” BC Hydro spokesperson Bob Gammar is looking for information about what happened and said he should know more later this week.