VANCOUVER — B.C. Hydro said Tuesday that the windstorm that knocked out power in thousands of homes and businesses on the weekend is believed to be the largest such outage ever for the utility.
Winds gusting up to 80 kilometres an hour at the height of Saturday’s storm in southwestern British Columbia toppled trees that damaged transmission lines and crushed cars.
B.C. Hydro estimated half of its 1.4-million customers on Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland lost power.
It said the peak number of customers without electricity was 400,000 on Saturday, compared with 240,000 during an outage in December 2006.
As of Tuesday afternoon, about 3,500 customers, mostly in Surrey and Coquitlam, still had no electricity.
The utility said it had called in crews from as far north as Fort St. John. However, rain had saturated the soil in some locations so it was considered unsafe for workers to bring in heavy equipment.