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

Fresgo Inn chef/owner Walter Wolff in the kitchen of the self-serve restaurant in Whalley. “I’ve got no plan for the retirement,” he says. “My customers always ask me, but as long as I feel good, healthy, I like to come here.” (Photo: Tom Zillich)
VIDEO: Surrey’s Fresgo Inn chef keeps cooking comfort food as COVID cuts into customers

‘I’ve got no plan for the retirement,’ says 40-year Whalley pillar Walter Wolff

Shawn Canil, a Cloverdale-area resident, turns heads with the truck he’s decorated for Christmas. (Photo: Tom Zillich)
Truck’s Christmas decorations lift spirits on Cloverdale man’s commute

‘When I see them smiling, I know it’s worth it,’ pickup driver Shawn Canil says

A reminder to students at Surrey’s Strawberry Hill Elementary to physically distance during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Surrey school district sends out 16 exposure notices overnight

INTERACTIVE TABLE: Search for schools, organize by exposure dates

At least one person received life-threatening injuries when a car collided with a semi truck in South Surrey on Friday morning. (Brenda Anderson photo)
VIDEO: South Surrey crash sends one to hospital in critical condition

Road closures in effect after collison between car and semi-truck

South Surrey and White Rock Chamber of Commerce. (Contributed photo)
South Surrey and White Rock Chamber of Commerce to host virtual COVID-19 town hall

Online event to include local politicians and representatives from Fraser Health, WorkSafe BC

Pickleball game in Vancouver on Sunday, November 8, 2020. B.C.’s public health restrictions for COVID-19 have been extended to adult team sports, indoors and outside. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
711 more COVID-19 cases detected in B.C. Friday

‘Virus is not letting up and neither can we’

Demonstrators, organized by the Public Fishery Alliance, outside the downtown Vancouver offices of Fisheries and Oceans Canada July 6 demand the marking of all hatchery chinook to allow for a sustainable public fishery while wild stocks recover. (Public Fishery Alliance Facebook photo)
Angry B.C. anglers see petition tabled in House of Commons

Salmon fishers demand better access to the healthy stocks in the public fishery

(Hotel Zed/Flytographer)
B.C. hotel grants couple 18 years of free stays after making baby on Valentines Day

Hotel Zed has announced a Kelowna couple has received free Valentines Day stays for next 18 years

Farmers raise slogans during a protest on a highway at the Delhi-Haryana state border, India, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rejected the diplomatic scolding Canada’s envoy to India received on Friday for his recent comments in support of protesting Indian farmers. Tens of thousands of farmers have descended upon the borders of New Delhi to protest new farming laws that they say will open them to corporate exploitation. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Manish Swarup
Trudeau brushes off India’s criticism for standing with farmers in anti-Modi protests

The High Commission of India in Ottawa had no comment when contacted Friday

Nurse Kath Olmstead prepares a shot as the world’s biggest study of a possible COVID-19 vaccine, developed by the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc., gets underway Monday, July 27, 2020, in Binghamton, N.Y. U.S. biotech firm Moderna says its vaccine is showing signs of producing lasting immunity to COVID-19, and that it will have as many as many as 125 million doses available by the end of March. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Hans Pennink
Canada orders more COVID vaccines, refines advice on first doses as cases reach 400K

Canada recorded its 300,000th case of COVID-19 on Nov. 16

Apartments are seen lit up in downtown Vancouver as people are encouraged to stay home during the global COVID-19 pandemic on Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. British Columbia’s deputy provincial health officer says provincewide data show the most important area B.C. must tackle in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic is health inequity. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
Age, income among top factors affecting well-being during pandemic, B.C. survey shows

Among respondents earning $20,000 a year or less, more than 41 per cent reported concern about food insecurity

Chilliwack General Hospital. (Jenna Hauck/ Progress file)
Chilliwack mother upset about son’s alleged suicide attempt after hospital discharge

Rhonda Clough said 34-year-old son suffering with bipolar disorder should have been kept in hospital

Victoria-based driving instructors are concerned for their own and the community’s safety with the continued number of residents from COVID hotspots in the Lower Mainland coming to the city to take their driving road tests. (Black Press Media file photo)
Students from COVID hotspots travel to Vancouver Island for driving tests

Union leader calls on government to institute stronger travel ban

British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix wears a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19, during an announcement about a new regional cancer centre, in Surrey, B.C., on Thursday, August 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
PHSA bought faulty respirators; spent money on catering, renovations: Dix

Such spending included ‘unnecessary, unbudgeted renovations’ to the authority’s headquarters in Vancouver

Most Read