Up, up and away: balloons tangled in overhead electrical wires were among the causes of some of BC Hydro’s most memorable power outages of 2020. (Photo credit: BC Hydro)

Up, up and away: balloons tangled in overhead electrical wires were among the causes of some of BC Hydro’s most memorable power outages of 2020. (Photo credit: BC Hydro)

BC Hydro ranks its most memorable power outages of 2020

Beavers and bears were some of the wildlife that played havoc with the power supply

BC Hydro crews responded to more than 61,000 trouble calls over the last 12 months, and some were less “routine” than others. As the year draws to a close, BC Hydro has compiled a list of the top 10 most memorable causes of power outages in 2020.

Un-bear-able weight: A hungry bear outside Nakusp climbed a cherry tree in search of a snack. Unfortunately, the tree could not hold the weight of the bear and it resulted in branches falling on to electrical equipment, causing a power outage.

Grandma’s birthday surprise: A grandmother’s celebration in Vernon reached new heights when her helium balloons came loose and flew into overhead wires, causing an outage to 120 other homes (and ending the party).

Dam trees: Busy beavers in Dawson Creek and Prince George caused over 700 customer outages when large branches from their dam construction fell into power lines.

Birds of play: Ospreys in Vernon and Kelowna decided to dispose of their unneeded nest supplies by dropping sticks on BC Hydro power lines. Perhaps an attempted game of power line pick-up sticks?

Insect eviction: Wasps took up residence in BC Hydro’s equipment in Surrey, North Vancouver, and Chemainus, and even built a nest inside a streetlight in Windermere.

Nuts about power: Fearless squirrels chewed through wires in Nanaimo and Langley, causing outages for more than 8,000 customers.

Meter motive: In Chilliwack, crews responded to an outage call only to discover the electricity meter was missing. They later retrieved it from a burglar who was walking down the street, meter in hand.

Let it go!: In both Hope and Vernon, kites broke from their owners’ grasp, causing outages to about 2,000 customers. Luckily, the kite owners just “let it go” before the kites came into contact with live power lines.

Going green: East Vancouver residents may reconsider their composting habits after a plant someone tossed out their window hit electrical equipment and caused an outage to 69 people.

Leaf it to the professionals: In Vernon, a homeowner was lucky to escape injury after contacting the power line while cleaning his gutters, causing a power outage.

While outages can be unpredictable, many of these outages were preventable. BC Hydro is reminding the public to:

Look up and be aware: Watch for power lines in your area, and never carry balloons or fly kites or drones near power lines.

Weigh down items that can fly away: Always securely fasten balloons or inflatables to make sure they will not be picked up by a sudden gust of wind and contact a power line.

Respect the power of electricity: Every year people are seriously injured or killed by electricity. Stay back at least three metres from any power lines – the length of a standard four-door car.


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