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

Maggie Ferguson continues to deliver pet food to communities in B.C’s Central Interior and North. She hopes to make things easier by eventually purchasing a truck and trailer through fundraising efforts. (Perfect Pastures Animal Sanctuary Facebook photo)
From Delta with love, Maggie Ferguson helps northern pet owners with food

Animal sanctuary owner leads efforts in delivering thousands of pounds of pet food

A man wearing a mask against coronavirus walks past an NHS advertisement about COVID-19 in London, Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2021. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
92 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths: Interior Health

The region is reporting 92 cases after the weekend

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: B.C. seniors aged 90+ can start to sign up for vaccination on March 8

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

(Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Murder charge laid in February 2020 stabbing death of Smithers man

Michael Egenolf is charged with the second-degree murder of Brodie Cumiskey

Williams Lake RCMP are investigating after suspects assaulted two employees at a convenience store and fled with cash and merchandise. (Black Press file photo)
Williams Lake RCMP investigating robbery at local convenience store

The robbery occurred Saturday evening, Feb. 27

Langley resident Carrie MacKay shared a video showing how stairs are a challenge after spending weeks in hospital battling COVID-19 (Special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Stairs a challenge for B.C. woman who chronicled COVID-19 battle

‘I can now walk for six (to) 10 minutes a day’

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A student from Dawson Creek is the winner of Tolko’s Orange Shirt Day design contest for 2021. (Tolko photo)
Tolko contest features northern winner

Student from Dawson Creek beats out entries Canadawide for Orange Shirt Day design contest win

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s coronavirus situation, May 8, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C.’s weekend COVID-19 cases: 532 Saturday, 508 Sunday, 438 Monday

Fraser Health still has most, eight more coronavirus deaths

Vernon’s Noric House long-term care facility’s COVID-10 outbreak has been declared over by Interior Health. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
COVID outbreak at Vernon’s Noric House declared over

10 deaths were linked to the outbreak at long-term care facility

B.C. Attorney General David Eby speaks in the legislature, Dec. 7, 2020. Eby was given responsibility for housing after the October 2020 provincial election. (Hansard TV)
B.C. extends COVID-19 rent freeze again, to the end of 2021

‘Renoviction’ rules tightened, rent capped to inflation in 2022

Face mask hangs from a rear-view mirror. (Black Press image)
B.C. CDC unveils guide on how to carpool during the pandemic

Wearing masks, keeping windows open key to slowing the spread of COVID-19

Churches, including Langley’s Riverside Calvary Church, are challenging the regulations barring them from holding in-person worship services during COVID-19. (Langley Advance Times file)
Det. Sgt. Jim Callender. (Hamilton Police Service screenshot)
B.C. man dead, woman seriously injured after shooting in Hamilton, Ont.

The man was in the process of moving to the greater Toronto area, police say

Most Read