UPDATE: Power Outage in Prince Rupert will be fixed by 5:30 says BC Hydro

A worn out underground cable junction causes hundreds to lose power, but BC Hydro says everyone will have power back by 5:30 pm.

View March 15, 2012 Power outage area in a larger map

At 8:39 last night an underground cable leading to to a one of BC Hydro’s transformers failed and 343 customers lost their power including many homes, the hospital, a nursing home, a day care and a preschool.

As of this writing BC Hydro says that they have restored power to 300 customers so far, but say that everyone should have power again by 4:00 this afternoon. But as 4:00 came and went, BC Hydro pushed it back to 5:30 instead.

Hospital administration say that they only had to switch to their back-up generators for a few hours last night before the power returned. The nursing home, Acropolis Manor remains on back-up power for the moment but the generators will last for as long as they need them.

Parent’s still dropped off their small children at Light House Childcare despite their being no heat or power. So the daycare’s staff took the kids to play at the Friendship House and have lunch at Rupert Square Mall.

Dave Mosure is a spokesman for BC Hydro. He says that sometimes underground power cables will fail and not much can be done to prevent it. The reason some customers will be without power for nearly 20 hours is that repairing and replacing cables underground is a labour intensive process.

“It just happens sometimes,” explains Mosure.

“It’s unfortunate with underground lines, although they do suffer less outages, when they do go out, they take longer to repair . . . It’s not as bad as it could have been, we were lucky that it happened at a junction, but you still need to run new cable.”

Of course it didn’t help that BC Hydro workers had to drive in from Terrace to do the work because none are stationed in Prince Rupert.