B.C. Hydro sent 35 employees to the Vancouver Island village of Ditidaht on the weekend to deal with the aftermath of the theft of copper ground wire conductors from hundreds of power poles.
Power was shut down Friday and restored Sunday evening to the First Nations community, after wire was taken from poles on a remote 62-kilometre stretch between China Creek and Ditidaht, near Port Alberni.
“We made repairs. We made it safe for the community,” said B.C. Hydro spokesman Ted Olynyk. “There is still some work to be done.”
B.C. Hydro first sent crews to the area last week after residents complained of shocks when they touched electrical items around the community.
That led to the discovery of what Olynyk said were between 200 and 300 poles stripped of the conductors.
“It was very extensive,” he said. “Thieves removed the neutral ground wires from the poles.”
Ditidaht First Nation chief councillor G. Jack Thompson said the power outage caused problems.
“A lot of members lost meat that was stored in their freezers and refrigerators,” he said.
While the community has a few generators, not all of them could supply power to large appliances.
Olynyk said the crews would be checking the line to Bamfield as well.
Police are conducting an investigation and are seeking the public’s assistance.
Anyone who witnessed this crime, or who can provide information to the RCMP about it, is asked to contact the local detachment at 250-723-2424, or contact Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-TIPS.
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