Power outage hits Prince Rupert, Port Edward

7,900 customers out of power at the height of the blackout on Monday afternoon.

Two landslides causing downed transmission lines caused the city-wide power outages on Monday afternoon in Prince Rupert and Port Edward.

At approximately 3:20 p.m., the city’s downtown power grid went dark, as well as residential areas in the suburbs and industrial areas of the city.

BC Hydro customers downtown got their lights back up and running roughly an hour later, and for residential customers both on the east side of town in the Conrad Street area and the west side along Summit Avenue, power was restored around 5:30 p.m.

An update from BC Hydro told customers that immediate power on Monday night and into Tuesday was being provided by the Prince Rupert gas turbine and Dave Mosure, community relations coordinator for BC Hydro provided an update into the situation on Tuesday afternoon.

“Two landslides have occurred, impacting the two BC Hydro transmission lines. The main transmission line into Prince Rupert is a 287-kilovolt line. It has five structures damaged and the 69-kilovolt line that connects the Falls River hydro plant and the Browne Lake independent power station has one structure damaged at the peak,” said Mosure on Tuesday.

“7,900 customers were without power yesterday afternoon for about 90 minutes and once the transmission lines went out of service and would not automatically reset. The crews were mobilized to bring the Rupert Gas Plant online. Now [the Rupert gas plant] is a natural gas-fuelled power station and is currently feeding all the residential and small commercial load. We are working with the large industrial customers and they’re currently operating at a reduced capacity.”

In the unlikely event that gas-fuelled power station fail, said Mosure, Rupert has a five to seven day alternate supply of diesel jet fuel that is available. A geotechnical survey and damage assessment is currently being undertaken and estimates on the repair and availability of both circuits will be available once a review of the damage and geotechnical work is received.

“There is no road access into the area where the slide has affected the main transmission line, so that’s requiring helicopter support,” Mosure added.

A timeline of the completion of the damage assessment and geotechnical work was not available but Mosure said the crews are likely working on it “asap”.