BC HYDRO PHOTO Off in the distance, a cottonwood tree had fallen on the transmission line between Kokish and Port McNeill, causing the nearly seven-and-a-half hour power outage.

Cottonwood tree causes North Island power outage

BC Hydro’s local crew responded to the outage immediately with a ground patrol to identify the outage

Nearly 7,000 residents were without power on Wednesday, Oct. 18, after the lights went out at 10:20 a.m. across the entire North Island.

“We had a fault on our transmission line,” said BC Hydro Spokesperson Karla Louwers, adding a “cottonwood tree fell on the line approximately between Kokish and Port McNeill.”

BC Hydro runs only one transmission line to the Northern Vancouver Island area so there were no backup lines available, which left local residents dealing with a nearly seven-and-a-half hour power outage that impacted “all the communities from Woss to the tip of the island, including Sointula and Alert Bay,” said Louwers.

She added BC Hydro’s local crew “responded to the outage immediately with a ground patrol to help identify the source of the outage, and then our transmission crew responded from Nanaimo.”

BC Hydro managed to get the power turned back on around 6:00 p.m.

Louwers stated BC Hydro wishes to recognize the efforts of Western Forest Products due to their “assistance with equipment and vegetation removal that really helped with the power restoration.”

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