In an update released at 9 a.m., BC Hydro reports that despite challenging field conditions, access has been established to two sites where twelve wooden poles will be erected to eventually hold the 230-kilovolt transmission line that runs between the W.A.C Bennett Dam and Tumbler Ridge. The new structures will be built on either side of the High Hat Creek – located about 68 kilometres south of the dam – and will replace a single structure that is compromised from erosion due to the heavy rainfall and resulting rise in the creek level last weekend.
If weather conditions remain stable and there are no unexpected delays, Hydro predicts construction of the new structures could be completed by Friday. A planned outage will then be required to transfer the transmission line to the new poles. The exact timing of the planned outage will be confirmed in the next few days.
Unstable soils and excessive water still threaten the existing structure, and Hydro is warning a power outage could occur should the structure fall. As part of a contingency plan, a back-up generator arrived in Tumbler Ridge earlier today serve as standby supplemental power to the town's existing back-up units for their critical infrastructure and emergency requirements. A second back-up generator is expected to arrive later today.
For other customers, the length of a potential outage would depend on progress on the long-term solution and whether other temporary solutions are feasible given the challenging ground conditions.
BC Hydro will continue to update the situation through its website and through the District of Tumbler Ridge at its offices and through its website.