2 1/2 hour power outage caused by lightning strike

A power outage plunged the East Boundary into the dark ages on Aug. 19 after a lightning strike caused a transformer to shut down.

“The power outage affected our customers in Christina Lake and Grand Forks as well the City of Grand Forks,” said Grace Parckell, spokesperson for FortisBC.

More than 5,000 people were without electricity, Parckell estimated.

“We suspect the outage was caused by weather in the area,” she said. “There was a severe thunderstorm that rolled through the region yesterday (Aug. 19) afternoon and we believe that a lightning strike struck one of our transformers.”

Parckell said that the transformer automatically shut off as a safety precaution.

“We have equipment specialists who go on site and check to see if the equipment is still working and if it was just a safety precaution that turned it off or whether more damage occurred,” she said. “In this case, it was just a safety precaution that caused it to shut down. After the crew was able to examine all the infrastructure on site they were able to determine it was safe and were able to turn the power back on.”

The power was off from about 2 p.m. until 4:40 p.m.

In the City of Grand Forks, crews were busy ensuring that water and sewer infrastructure were all working properly.

“We have to go into an emergency mode to make sure those are all going and the generators are all working,” said Roger Huston, manager of operations for the city.

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