FortisBC has scheduled a planned power outage for May 12, 2020 to repair several damaged poles in the Naramata area. (Contributed)

FortisBC schedules planned power outage for Naramata residents

Power will be out for approximately eight hours to repair damaged transmission poles

FortisBC has scheduled a power outage that will affect approximately 570 customers in Naramata on May 12, from 5:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. so that crews can replace several damaged transmission poles.

The repairs are not related to a recent power outage caused by a fallen tree that resulted in 4000 homes in Penticton and 1177 homes in Naramata losing power Monday (April 27).

The repair work will affect most customers located north of Upper Debeck Rd., along Naramata Rd. North, including side roads.

READ MORE: UPDATE: Thousands of Penticton, Naramata residents without power

“With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and many people working and studying from home, we recognize that any power outage is very disruptive right now so we’ve planned this outage very carefully,” said Shawn Conway, director of operations for FortisBC.

“Completing this work on schedule is necessary to keep the system running safely and reliably; replacing these structures now will prevent a larger, unplanned outage at a later time.”

Conway stated crews will be working as efficiently as possible. Up to six crews will be working simultaneously so that all of the structures can be replaced at the same time and require only one outage. The repair work was also planned for a time of year when energy requirements for customers in the area are typically lowest.

Also, FortisBC is working closely with the City of Penticton to reduce the number of customers affected by the outage. As a result of recent upgrades they’ve made to their system, the City will temporarily supply power to about 1,500 FortisBC customers that would have otherwise been affected by this outage.

READ MORE: Planned power outages to hit Penticton

“We greatly appreciate this support from the city,” said Conway. “We hope that the additional notice to customers will help people be prepared and have time to adjust their schedules, if possible.”

FortisBC is working to notify all customers who will be affected, including calling them directly.

The natural gas and electricity company has also provided this list of steps so that customers can be prepared for the outages:

  • Try to keep phones charged and conserve cell phone and laptop batteries.
  • Plug electronics and other sensitive equipment such as TVs, cable boxes, video game consoles and computers into surge-protecting power bars.
  • Switch off appliances, electronics and lights to prevent a power surge when service is restored. However, leaving one light on inside and one outside will help you know when the power is back on.
  • Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to keep food cold. In general, a half-full freezer will keep food frozen for up to 24 hours and a full freezer will keep food frozen for up to 48 hours.
  • Wait 10 to 15 minutes after the power has been fully restored before slowly turning everything back on. This will give the entire electrical system a chance to stabilize.
  • Learn how to use the manual releases on automated doors.

The majority of construction work will take place along Naramata Rd. North between Pearson and Smethurst Roads and there will be traffic controls in the area. The public is asked to avoid this area if possible for safety and so that crews can work as quickly as possible.

The work is part of a $750,000 project underway from now until June to upgrade the transmission system that serves FortisBC customers in Naramata and Penticton.

READ MORE: FortisBC crews need to work during COVID-19


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