B.C. Hydro updated Morris Valley Road residents in a recent phone conference on projects to improve service reliability to the area. (Graphic/B.C. Hydro)

Renewed hope for reliable power on Morris Valley Road

B.C. Hydro updates Harrison Mills residents on long-term improvement projects

  • Jul. 23, 2021 12:00 a.m.

An important infrastructure project for Harrison Mills and nearby areas took one step closer recently.

During a recent telephone conference for a group of concerned residents, B.C. Hydro announced a project to bring more stable power service to Harrison Mills, Deroche, Lake Errock and beyond would have a potential completion date of spring 2024.

This meeting came about four months after B.C. Hydro community relations manager Jerry Muir promised residents a status update on the Morris Valley Reinforcement Project.

RELATED: Power outages causing problems for Morris Valley Road residents

For residents along Morris Valley Road, there is at least one or two power outages a month ranging from half an hour to 54 hours. In 2019, Doug Wright, one of five residents in the area, asked B.C. Hydro for data on outages from February 2016 onward. According to data received, between Februrary and December 2016, there were 15 outages, averaging 3.4 hours without power each. Throughout 2017, there were 16 outages, averaging nearly six hours without power per incident. More than half of those outages were caused by fallen trees and 20 per cent were caused by motor vehicle crashes.

Wright – together with fellow locals Diane Rodrigue, Roger Mawdsley, Brenda Wright and Doug Stewart – banded together to bring their concerns to B.C. Hydro; their first meeting was in May 2018. During the 2018 meeting, B.C. Hydro presented four options to improve service reliability: maintaining trees, protecting power poles from vehicle incidents, installing more insulated power lines and connecting existing lines to an alternative feed to provide backup energy in the event of an outage.

“As positively effective as these efforts have been, it has always been believed that the long-term solution to the area’s outage problem was to provide an alternative support supply source,” Wright said.

RELATED: Morris Valley Road damaged by rocks, traffic impacted

B.C. Hydro presented concerned residents with two options in creating more stable infrastructure. The first – the preferred option – would support the existing “Mission feed” with a secondary feed from Kent Station, which would call for an underground line run under Harrison River. The second would double circuit the existing line from the Mission Station and bury the cable underground from Deroche to Morris Valley. The first option was deemed potentially more stable than the second.

Since their last meeting with B.C. Hydro, residents reported improvement in service reliability thanks to several factors, including aggressive tree and vegetation management from B.C. Hydro, upgrades to existing equipment and addition equipment installed as well as a period of milder weather.

With steps in the direction of a long-term project, Wright said the meeting overall was “good news” and thanked B.C. Hydro for their understanding and efforts over the course of the past few years.

With Files from Grace Kennedy

Agassiz-Harrison Observer