UPDATE: Bird knocks out power for Penticton

A magpie is at the centre of the power outage that left large swaths of Penticton without electricity this morning.

A magpie is at the centre of the power outage that left large swaths of Penticton without electricity this morning.

How many customers were impacted by the outage is unknown, but the final circuit to be restored is estimated to consist of roughly 5,000 customers

Power was restored to all customers shortly after 11 a.m.

Early this morning, a magpie flew into the main feed to the Westminster Ave. substation. While the city doesn’t have an estimate of how many homes and businesses were without power, communications officer Simone Blais said it is fair to categorize this as a large outage, affecting a significant number of customers.

“Basically, this bird shorted out the line and the area in the north end of the town was impacted. City and Fortis crews were called out immediately and about 7:30 a.m., they were able to restore power,” said Blais. But restoring power caused some other issues, knocking out power in other areas of the city.

“City crews were onsite, working hard to figure out exactly what the problem was,” said Blais. “I received a report as of just after 9 a.m. that power has been restored to all areas except Naramata Road. There is additional testing in that are that needs to be done before they can energize the circuit.”

There are also reports of ongoing power outages in scattered areas around Uplands, Redlands, and Nanaimo Street.

Phones have been ringing off the hook at city hall this morning, according to Blais, with people wondering what was happening. She thanks the customers for their patience, but said it’s too early to say extensive the damage was or place a dollar value on it. Crews from the city’s electric utility are focusing on getting power restored before doing an evaluation.

“I know several people went without coffee this morning and some people are still out and we are absolutely working very hard to get them back into business as soon as possible,” she said. “If they are still out and have access to the internet, they are able to check penticton.ca for updates. we are updating that page as much as possible, with any new information.”