Power was restored to Bella Bella on Friday January 7 after the remote central coast community suffered two nights without power.
BC Hydro sent crews from the CCGS Sir John Franklin to the community on Friday morning on a humanitarian transport mission.
The CCGS Sir John Franklin is in charge of a humanitarian transport mission @BCHydro to Bella Bella. BC Hydro was unable to reach Heiltsuk First Nation by road or air due to the #BCstorm pic.twitter.com/9hnAdlNGQp
– Canadian Coast Guard (@CoastGuardCAN) January 7, 2022
Heiltsuk Nation Emergency Coordinator Randy Carpenter said Black press media On Friday, the power failure affected 450 homes.
“There was a backup generator from Shearwater, but it has only powered about a third of the town in the past 18 hours,” Carpenter said.
After the first night without power, Carpenter said he was driving his truck and stopped at noon to call Emergency Management BC.
“From there, we made a plan for the Coast Guard to come and get the hydro crew and bring them here. “
During the power outage, the community’s large house served as a feeding center.
There is a large fireplace in the center of the Big House, and it would have been used as a place to warm up, but unfortunately, to open the shafts to let the smoke out, electricity is needed.
“We will consider installing a generator in the big house in the future,” Carpenter said, noting “probably” that the only building in the community with a generator is the Bella Bella Hospital.
The group’s store is in the process of procuring a generator, he added.
Although the exact cause of the blackout has not been determined, Carpenter’s hypothesis was cold weather.
Snow has been falling intermittently in the Bella Bella area for about a month and temperatures have been cold due to outgoing arctic winds.
“We’re supposed to have another snow dump tonight and then it’s supposed to rain for about a week. “
Dave Mosure, Northern Communities Relations for BC Hydro, said he had not heard from crews as to the cause of the outage, but said power was restored at 10:30 a.m. Friday .
Mosure noted that sending crews to a Coast Guard vessel was not the norm, however, there was no other way to get them there.
“The good news is the power is on,” he added.
Carpenter said that while some homes in Bella Bella have wood-burning stoves, there has recently been a “big push” to switch to heat pump systems.
“A lot of people got rid of their wood stoves and furnaces. I think in the last year and a half we’ve had 150 heat pumps installed in homes. They’re great, but when the power goes out and you don’t have the wood stoves and furnaces anymore, it gets pretty cold.
During the power outage, the community was also under a “stay at home” order due to the number of 33 positive cases of COVID-19.
This was the second time the Coast Guard had come to the aid of the community in recent times.
“Last summer, when the BC Ferries ships broke down, the Coast Guard brought supplies to our community,” Carpenter said.