Community Articles
Go to Site Index See "Community Articles" main page
General News · 10th January 2022
John Drew
Thanks to John Sprungman for his posting on Tidelines: Hydro Maxed Out. I didn’t know that our Island’s Electricity Grid was so fragile, and "Yes”, when voltage gets in the low 100s, we need to pay attention; to act responsibly and lower our usage of what’s now a limited resource. While I expect most of us feel a little brutalized by all the consecutive outages we’ve been experiencing, it’s healthy to be reminded that we are all in this together and that we can be proactive in sorts. It’s really good to know that Hydro’s design team are on the question of capacity; might we ask them to bury the mainlines next upgrade.

It seems to me that we too readily blame wind and ice storms and trees falling on lines for our outages when the culprit is really the fragile infrastructure itself and the quality of maintenance this receives. It seems timely after this “Christmas in the dark” to ask the question, “What’s in our sphere of control; and what is not?” Living without power for the best part of four consecutive days is harsh and routine disrupting; not something to be passive about; nor acting like victims of nature, being singled out; nor just give up. Sure, winter storms and the fragile infrastructure are not things we can deal with in the short term; however, we can influence how many trees fall on our lines and thus how many times we lose power.

I know mHydro has a program for taking down danger trees but it seems token, underfunded and is clearly not working. An old adage of management, - that “If it doesn’t get measured, it doesn’t get done” - is sure at play here and a good first step would be to dimension the problem.

I’m sure there are many stories in the Community as to how we would have dealt with danger trees in the past. Trees falling on power lines is no new phenomena. However, we are so in need encouragement, please share your stories. Perhaps you might like to drive down Whaletown Road by the turn-off to the Gorge Marina, stop and look up at the large, dead, fir tree that’s there; one limb of which on falling would take out the Hydro line, block the road and could be a fatality about to happen. And so we let this tree stand there, year-after-year, ready to do its worst. Why?

Sorry, my threshold of what I’m willing to tolerate as an acceptable number of power outages has just been crossed? What’s important here though is, “Has yours?”. Can we keep John Sprungman’s dialogue rolling 'til we reach a workable solution? I hope so.