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2nd North Island transmission line not in the cards: BC Hydro

Hydro says investments in vegetation clearing around current line helped cut outages to 5 last year
Hydro workers work on a line. (File photo) No actual fault was detected in the power line by the BC Hydro systems and therefor restored power within seconds automatically. (File photo)

BC Hydro says it is committed to reducing power outages on North Vancouver Island by keeping the lines clear from potential windfall.

But a second line running north of Campbell River is not in the cards.

The news comes from BC Hydro Vancouver Island community relations manager Ted Olynyk while responding to a letter from Port Hardy council regarding an extended Dec. 9 power outage caused by severe weather conditions.

“Our goal is to ensure the electric grid is planned, operated, and maintained in a safe, reliable and cost effective manner,” stated Olynyk. “Over the past number of years, BC Hydro has made considerable investment upgrading the transmission system that serves northern Vancouver Island as well increasing vegetation management efforts along the transmission corridor. Since fiscal 2022, crews have cleared over 2,000 trees and almost 500 hectares of land to reduce tree-related outages.”

He pointed out that thanks to all the line and vegetation work BC Hydro has done, there has been a “decreased frequency of unplanned outages impacting the community over the last two years.”

In 2022, there were 10 unplanned outages. In 2023, the number of unplanned outages was reduced to “just five outages and so far this fiscal year we have four unplanned outages recorded for the North Island,” added Olynyk. “In essence, a 50 per cent decrease in the number of unplanned outages.”

Olynyk said installing a secondary transmission line to serve the area has not been a consideration in Hydro’s capital plan.

“The estimated cost would be in the hundreds of millions of dollars and it would still need to traverse some very challenging terrain. In addition, the loads in the northern Vancouver Island communities are not forecast to require additional capacity provided by a second line, and based on the load forecast we are able to serve the loads with the existing line.”

“You can be confident that BC Hydro is working hard to increase system resiliency to reduce the impact of climate change on our system,” he concluded.

Councillor Fred Robertson said council needs to address BC Hydro’s position on the second line with the provincial minister responsible, adding it’s something they need to say they disagree with.

Tyson Whitney

About the Author: Tyson Whitney

I have been working in the community newspaper business for nearly a decade, all of those years with Black Press Media.
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