Snow clings to tree branches as a woman crosses a street in Vancouver, on Tuesday, February 12, 2019. British Columbia’s electrical supplier says homeowners are not ready for the upcoming winter storm season even though many households report they weathered COVID-19-related closures and shortages earlier this year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Snow clings to tree branches as a woman crosses a street in Vancouver, on Tuesday, February 12, 2019. British Columbia’s electrical supplier says homeowners are not ready for the upcoming winter storm season even though many households report they weathered COVID-19-related closures and shortages earlier this year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

BC Hydro warns toilet paper stockpiles won’t help when storms cut power

Crown utility says its data show there has been a 117 per cent increase in storms over the past several years

British Columbia’s main electrical supplier says homeowners are not ready for the upcoming winter storm season even though many households report they weathered COVID-19-related closures and shortages earlier this year.

A survey commissioned by BC Hydro finds 20 per cent of homeowners believe they are prepared for an extended power outage because they laid in supplies such as toilet paper, hand sanitizer and groceries.

But the online survey of 803 B.C. residents conducted in early October says more than half lack an emergency kit or a plan, meaning households are “stocked up, but unprepared” to ride out a major storm.

The survey says many have confused the need to prepare for the isolation due to COVID-19 restrictions with the separate need to prepare for extended winter power outages that could leave them without heat, light or the ability to cook food and keep it from rotting.

Forty-four per cent report stocking up on household supplies but Hydro says few named bottled water, an external phone charger, first aid kit or non-perishable food among those items.

The Crown utility says its data show there has been a 117 per cent increase in storms that it has responded to over the past several years, rising from 52 in 2014 to an average of 113 in each of the last three years.

Hydro is urging residents to create a kit including batteries, warm clothes and food enough to last at least 72 hours.

“This storm season is unique because the COVID-19 pandemic is adding extra pressure on BC Hydro and its customers,” the report says.

A plan is more important than ever because the option of staying warm at a mall, movie theatre or other public place is less appealing during the pandemic, says the report.

It found half of British Columbians would not leave home this winter, almost 20 per cent said they would stay in the dark for at least 48 hours before even considering it, while 90 per cent believe power would be restored within 24 hours of a major storm.

Regionally, 30 per cent of all Lower Mainland residents admit to taking no steps to ready for a loss of electricity, although the Hydro survey shows those in Northern B.C. and on Vancouver Island were the most likely to have experienced outages over the last year and are the most prepared for the upcoming season.

The best defence is preparedness, says the Hydro statement.

The utility has published directions on its website of dos and don’ts during outages that includes everything from a list of the contents of an emergency kit to what to do if live wires are nearby and how to keep the food in your freezer safe for up to 48 hours.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

BCHydro

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

RCMP cruiser. (File photo)
Alberta, Chase residents handed driving prohibitions from RCMP

Drivers fail alcohol screening device tests

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Interior Health reports 65 new cases of COVID-19

Province-wide, there are 887 new cases of the virus

The Sicamous Fire Department has postponed their annual toy drive to Dec. 13. (File photo)
Sicamous and other Shuswap fire departments postponing toy drives

Due to a provincial health order, toy drive is being pushed back to Dec. 13

The Pioneer Lodge Care home is hoping the community can cross some things off their residents’ Christmas lists. (Kari Shea/Unsplash)
Salmon Arm care home seeks gifts to ease Christmas isolation for seniors

Trees going up with gift tags listing item suggestions for residents of Pioneer Lodge

Resident wants City of Salmon Arm to take action to eradicate rat population in town. (File photo)
Salmon Arm resident demands action to eradicate rats

City posts more information on social media, will consider more action at budget time

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry update the COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Nov. 23, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. sets another COVID-19 record with 887 new cases

Another 13 deaths, ties the highest three days ago

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Arthur Topham has been sentenced to one month of house arrest and three years of probation after breaching the terms of his probation. Topham was convicted of promoting hate against Jewish people in 2015. (Photo submitted)
Quesnel man convicted for anti-Semitic website sentenced to house arrest for probation breach

Arthur Topham was convicted of breaching probation following his 2017 sentence for promoting hatred

Langley School District's board office. (Langley Advance Times files)
‘Sick Out’ aims to pressure B.C. schools over masks, class sizes

Parents from Langley and Surrey are worried about COVID safety in classrooms

The baby boy born to Gillian and Dave McIntosh of Abbotsford was released from hospital on Wednesday (Nov. 25) while Gillian continues to fight for her life after being diagnosed with COVID-19.
B.C. mom with COVID-19 still fighting for life while newborn baby now at home

Son was delivered Nov. 10 while Gillian McIntosh was in an induced coma

The Rutland IGA is located in Willow Park Shopping Centre at 590 BC-33. (Michael Rodriguez - Kelowna Capital News)
Customer asked to mask up, throws hot coffee at Kelowna IGA employee

The woman grabbed cat food on her way out when she refused to wear a mask

City of Armstrong Public Works Yard. (Google Maps)
Armstrong city staffer threatened in snow removal complaint

Community services manager says ‘veiled threat’ is believed to have been flippant, but is being taken seriously

B.C. Premier John Horgan, a Star Trek fan, can’t resist a Vulcan salute as he takes the oath of office for a second term in Victoria, Nov. 26, 2020. (B.C. government)
Horgan names 20-member cabinet with same pandemic team

New faces in education, finance, economic recovery

The Okanagan Quality Life Society which usually gives tours of Okanagan Lake to seniors and shut-ins on its boat Heaven Can Wait has created a virtual tour video in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic which shut down the tours in 2020. (Morning Star - file photo)
Okanagan Lake virtual boat tours launched

Okanagan Quality Life Society normally gives tours on Okanagan Lake on its boat Heaven Can Wait

Most Read