Emergency responders are on scene north of Enderby after a strong windstorm has knocked power lines down. (Brendan Shykora - Vernon Morning Star)

Emergency responders are on scene north of Enderby after a strong windstorm has knocked power lines down. (Brendan Shykora - Vernon Morning Star)

Power restored to Vernon

46,148 southern Interior customers still in the dark, including pockets in Enderby, Armstrong

The power went out for around 61,000 BC Hydro customers Friday morning in the southern Interior and by 3 p.m., 24 per cent of customers affected have had power restored. However restoration times for those 46,148 left in the dark is still unknown, a BC Hydro spokeswoman said.

“Vernon is back up and running,” community relations specialist Mary Anne Coules said, noting power was restored at 12:57 p.m.

But more than 1,485 in Armstrong and Enderby are still without power.

“There is lots of work to be done today,” Coules said. “This is an all-hands-on-deck situation.”

BC Hydro has an in-house meteorologist that watches weather patterns and alerts staff of possible storms that may affect service. Staff were anticipating a storm today and additional crews were called in and others placed on standby, Coules said.

Tree branches were a culprit in the blackouts Friday morning.

“Something we really focus on is vegetation management,” she said. “We have very challenging terrain.”

In the past 10 months, Coules said, 45,000 trees have been removed to prevent issues with power lines and infrastructure.

“BC Hydro has 79,000 kilometres of power lines across B.C. and three times more trees per kilometre of power line than any other utility in North America,” she said, adding the utility spends $50 million annually on vegetation management.

For those awaiting power restoration, BC Hydro’s outage map shows progress status updates, or customers can call 1-800-BCHydro (1-800-224-9376).

READ MORE: UPDATE: No power for 6,000 in Vernon

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@caitleerach
Caitlin.clow@vernonmorningstar.com

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