Power cut to more than 1,000

A large Fir tree fell onto wires in the Youbou area causing nearly 1,100 customers to be without power for close to 12 hours.

Two falling trees took down all of the utility lines on Youbou Road around 3 a.m. Thursday morning. Hydro crews worked through the day and had power restored before 3 p.m. that afternoon.

A large Fir tree fell onto wires in the Youbou area during the storm early Thursday morning, causing nearly 1,100 customers to be without power for close to 12 hours.

The tree came down and knocked out 10 spans of line around 3:30 a.m.

BC Hydro spokesperson Karla Lowers said it was the first of many callouts Thursday for crews to clear trees and repair lines.

The Youbou outage lasted until about 3:15 p.m.

“There was a lot of work that needed to happen before crews could restore power,” she said, explaining the lengthy delay.

Lowers said both tree crews and line crews responded to clean up the mess.

“They needed to make significant repairs. Several cross arms were damaged in the event,” she said. “Poles needed to be straightened, no poles were broken. As soon as they were able to power was restored to those customers.

At it’s peak, about 8,000 Hydro customers in the Cowichan Valley were affected by the storm. Most had their power restored by 4 p.m. but some weren’t back on until around midnight.

Lowers also related that Hydro crews are seeing an increase of “helpers” at tree-on-line calls that arrive before official crews and clear the trees away for firewood.

“It’s an increasing trend that when our crews respond to trouble calls, somebody’s gotten there in advance of us and cleared the area,” she said, adding it’s a very bad idea.

Lowers said downed power lines don’t always act like they are live, they don’t always spark and they aren’t always on fire.

People should treat them like they are live just to be on the safe side.

“We are hoping to get out a proactive message of safety rather than a reactive message of condolence,” she said.

People should stay back at least 10 metres and call police at 9-1-1 if they witness people clearing trees for firewood. “We are really trying to get that message out before something bad happens.”