Outages & Safety
Power outages can happen for a variety of reasons, such as bad weather, motor vehicles accidents and even animals interfering with the equipment. Weather-related outages which include wind, snow and trees falling on lines are the most common sources of unplanned power outages in the Kootenays. Depending on the cause, some can be restored very quickly, while others can last a few hours or even a few days in the event of a major storm or emergency.
To report a power outage or get the current outage status please call 1- 877-324-9376. This line is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
How Power is Restored
There are many individuals working behind the scenes to restore your power, especially in the event of a storm or emergency. If your lights go out, this is what happens to get your power back.
- Dispatchers gather outage information
- Nelson Hydro crews are dispatched to investigate, locate the cause and assess the damage
- Public communications are updated
- Problem area is electrically isolated (sectionalized) to ensure safe working conditions
- Electrical line contractors, tree trimming and highway flagging crews are contacted as required
- Repairs are completed on a priority basis considering critical services and the number of customers
- Power is restored
- Public communications are updated
For safety reasons, there are occasions when Nelson Hydro must turn off the power intentionally in certain areas where construction, system upgrades, repairs and vegetation management are taking place. These outages are kept to a minimum and communicated in advance to minimize the impact on customers.
Keep an eye out for sandwich boards on the street, notices through social media, or crews knocking on your door to notify you of upcoming outages. You can also sign-up up for automatic alerts on your cell phone.
Click on the image below to see a map of active Scheduled Power Outages
Downed or damaged electrical lines can be deadly. Any lines observed in this condition need to be reported so that they can be made safe and repaired by the appropriate personnel.
- Stay back at least 10 metres or 33 feet. That's about the length of a bus.
- Dial 911 or 1-877-324-9376 and let them know that a power line has fallen or is damaged.
- Keep others in the vicinity at least a bus length away.
Take precautions around downed electrical lines and treat any downed line as if it is live. Never assume the power is off. Stay clear of the area and warn others to also remain clear of the area.
Other important tips:
- Do not use a land-based telephone if calling during an electrical storm. The telephone line could become energized if a lightning strike occurs in the area. Use a cellular phone to call for help.
- If a tree falls or leans into an energized electrical line, the tree and the ground at the base of the tree could become energized and the tree could ignite and start a fire. Keep a good distance clear. If a fire occurs, call 9-1-1 immediately.
Reporting Damage or Unsafe Conditions
To report pole damage, low voltage or partial power, damaged residential or commercial services, trees on electrical lines, or excavation damage to underground electrical lines call 1-250-352-8240.
Call Before You Dig
BC One Call will contact utilities that may have underground facilities in your area. Please call them directly at 1-800-474-6886 to inform them of your construction plans.
Working Near Power Lines
- Look Up and Down: Plan your work so you can avoid contact with power lines. Make sure you look for power lines overhead and underground.
- Stay Back: Keep a safe distance from the lines. Follow the WorkSafeBC Regulation for the Limits of Approach and stay back the appropriate distance from power lines and electrical equipment.
- Call for Help: If you come across a fallen power line, an exposed underground power line, or an object that comes into contact with a power line, stay back 10 metres or 33 feet and call 9-1-1.
Nelson Hydro may be able to temporarily disconnect the electric service line into your home if you’re trimming your trees, repairing your roof, or painting near the line. Please call 1-250-352-8240 to inquire.