EDITORIAL: B.C. Hydro intent in keeping us in the dark

We say: Planned 12-hour power outages could have been handled better.

The B.C. Hydro communications department was running around earlier this week on how to justify its decision to cut power to several Sooke businesses for up to 12 hours in order to move a few utility poles.

Only problem was the message wasn’t getting through.

B.C. Hydro claims the work was necessary and part of the recent Town Centre project. Yet many businesses affected weren’t even notified of the outage, many more were left in the dark.

The work is slated to begin next week on the project, and B.C. Hydro promises that merchants will get more information – next week.

It’s been a common theme for Hydro during the Town Centre project, giving businesses short notice of power outages, sometimes with just a few hours notice.

In this case, B.C. Hydro will cut power from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. There was no thought on Hydro’s part to do the work in the evening when there is less business traffic.

Businesses like Village Foods will suffer. The biggest concern for Village is its frozen foods, with no power, there are no freezers.

Village Foods could bring generators in for $15,000, but won’t do that and Hydro certainly isn’t willing to foot such a bill.

But put Village aside for a moment,  with no power other businesses will be affected in a big way – no power means no computers or other ancillary power devices. What business today operates without computers?

Hydro could have avoided this problem by being more open. It could have informed its customers and the public of its plans (some only found out by going to the Hydro website).

Thinking outside the box, you would think B.C. Hydro would look at doing this work in what best fits the businesses’ schedules – not by an arbitrary decision without an open conversation.

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