Car crash causes strange electrical problems for Dean Park neighbours

Officials still investigating what caused power outage, blown fuses for residents of Dean Park in North Saanich

Neighbours in Dean Park are scratching their heads after a power surge caused electrical problems for days after the event.

On Feb. 9, a vehicle crashed into a power pole in the area. B.C. Hydro believes the crash might have caused the power outage, but are investigating other causes.

Resident Peter Crawford said he heard a bang when the surge happened, then lost power. Soon, electricity was restored, but not everywhere. He and two neighbours discovered blown ground fault interrupter circuits. One person’s TV was damaged and another’s transformer box for digital cable failed.

“We’ve had lots of power outages, but we never had anything like that happen,” Crawford said.

Ted Olynyk, B.C. Hydro’s community relations manager for Vancouver Island, said this is a reminder for people to protect their electronics with surge protectors. Power bars aren’t enough.

Crawford agreed, but that doesn’t help with the blown ground fault interrupter circuits.

“The ground fault circuit is there to protect customers. It did its job,” Olynyk said.

He added power surges can affect areas large and small, and can affect houses differently.

“If the wiring in your home is done correctly by a certified electrician, it can withstand a surge event. A surge event can hit an area – it can be a small area, a single house event, or it can be a large area. The farther away from the surge event you are, the less impact it will have.”

People whose electronics and houses are damaged by surges can submit claims through homeowner insurance, or by calling B.C. Hydro’s claims line, at 1-800-224-9376.