At least four pad-mounted transformers have been deliberately damaged in the Mt. Seymour- Parkgate area since April 2019, BC Hydro says, resulting in power outages, oil spills, and transformer explosions. (BC Hydro photo)

Vandalized BC Hydro transformers cause power outages, oil spill and hefty damage

At least four pad-mounted transformers have been vandalized since April in North Vancouver

BC Hydro is sounding the alarm after a stint of vandalism to at least four BC Hydro transformers in North Vancouver caused days of power outages and concerning safety risks.

At least four pad-mounted transformers have been vandalized since April in the Mt. Seymour area of the North Shore with what appears to have been some kind of saw and drill, BC Hydro confirmed to Black Press Media on Wednesday.

These kinds of transformer boxes are most commonly used within new neighbourhoods or developments where power lines are installed underground instead of through above-ground poles. They are often located along the pathway of a building or on a lawn.

Each box has equipment that helps transport electricity into homes and buildings, as well as mineral oil that keeps the machinery from overheating or sparking.

ALSO READ: Raccoon caught taking a nap, snacking in BC Hydro van

BC Hydro public safety lead Jonny Knowles said there is nothing worth stealing inside and breaking in only poses significant safety risks to the public.

“For someone to deliberately do this to a transformer box is beyond me,” he told Black Press Media in a phone interview. “I’ve been in the public safety department for just over six years and I have never come across someone doing this.”

Each box is built on a gravel base that serves as a protective barrier between the transformer and soil, Knowles explained, and are made to stop working, or “trip,” when there is not enough mineral oil to keep the area cool.

But there is a risk that the equipment doesn’t halt, and instead sparks a fire – or at worst an explosion – Knowles said, a concern that worsen during the drier summer months. If a substantial amount of the mineral oil leaks, the soil and nearby plants could be contaminated.

In each of the incidents, which happened on April 2 and 24, May 1 and July 2, the transformers did successfully trip, causing lengthy outages to nearby areas, including neighbourhoods, restaurants and grocery stores, Knowles said. In one instance, the power was cut for three days while BC Hydro crews worked to repair the box.

Roughly 1,000 litres of mineral oil leaked from another transformer, but the gravel base was able to stop it from seeping into the grass.

It cost roughly $150,000 to repair the four transformers, Knowles said. That doesn’t include loss of business nor restocking food that went bad at affected stores and restaurants.

Equipment is vandalized now and again, Knowles added, but these cases are particularly concerning because of “the danger they present to themselves, the public and BC Hydro employees.”

The Crown corporation suspects the cases of vandalism are all connected, and police are investigating the incidents. Black Press Media has reached out to Mounties for comment.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Competitive Christmas decorating takes sarcastic turn in Princeton

It’s not uncommon for neighbours to good-naturely compete with one another when… Continue reading

WorkSafe BC to investigate explosion at Princeton facility

Explosion at Envirogreen waste reclamation plant occurred Nov. 27

Okanagan Similkameen could have a sister city in the south of France

Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen considering agreement with wine region in southern France

Police plan forum in Hedley to address resident concerns

Princeton RCMP will hold a meeting in Hedley this month, to address… Continue reading

Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen directors to receive pay increase

Increase of 11.9 per cent to offset changes to taxation for elected officials

Kelowna Salvation Army sees increase in toy, cash donations

The Tiny Tim Charity Toy Breakfast started its 19th year Thursday morning

Jurassic World 3 will film in Metro Vancouver under working title Arcadia

Filming is set to take place between Feb. 24 and March 6, 2020

Time to celebrate Christmas Cowboy Style with Double Stop Creek & Friends in Penticton

The B.C.-based country band will be joined by additional musicians at Penticton’s Elk’s Lodge

Strata rental bans escape B.C. speculation tax through 2021, Carole James says

Vacant home tax won’t apply to cabins accessible only by water

South Okanagan elderly accident victim ‘a tough customer’

Penticton Fire Department crews rescue elderly man who rolled his ATV down an embankment

WATCH: Eyewitness captures moment truck slams into Tim Hortons in Kelowna

A pickup truck crashed into the front a Tim Hortons in Rutland causing a small fire on Monday night

Morning Start: How many people live on earth?

Your morning start for December 10, 2019.

China hints at national security trials for 2 Canadians detained for one year

The two Canadians’ detention is largely seen as retaliation for the arrest of a Huawei exec

Most Read