The powerhouse of the Boston Bar Generating Station sits next to the Fraser River. Boston Bar Hydro has been generating clean electricity since 1995

Fraser Canyon saved from major power outage

Boston Bar would have been without electricity for more than 25 hours if not for an independently-operated hydro project

By Mark de Koning, general manager of the Boston Bar Hydro project.

Shortly before noon on Nov. 14, a rock slide damaged a BC Hydro power line just north of Yale, B.C. At the same time, work being done by BC Hydro at the Spences Bridge substation meant that an alternate source of power from BC Hydro was unavailable.

Residents and businesses along a 103 kilometre corridor from Spences Bridge to Spuzzum, including Boston Bar, would have been without electricity for more than 25 hours if not for an independently-operated hydro project just north of Hell’s Gate on Scuzzy Creek.

“We were delighted to help keep the lights on,” says Mark de Koning, General Manager for the Boston Bar Hydro project. “Something like this happens every so often due to the rugged nature of the Fraser Canyon, but our small hydro project can often fill the gap without local residents noticing much of a flicker. Hospitals, gas stations, restaurants and emergency services all use electricity in order to serve the public.”

Without much fanfare, the six megawatt Boston Bar Hydro plant has been producing zero-emission, 100 per cent renewable electricity since 1995 for BC Hydro.

Operations and maintenance requirements result in $565,000 being spent in the local area every year, supporting 4.5 full-time equivalent jobs in the area due to spin-offs. The project pays $364,000 per year in provincial and local taxes and fees.

“Boston Bar Hydro is often able to automatically fill the gap with proper controls to maintain power quality,” noted Mr. de Koning. “However, there are times when BC Hydro requires us to briefly black out the town to allow them to perform switching operations on their own line. I am sure residents may have noticed these brief outages, and it’s something we don’t do lightly.”

Reliability from Yale to Spence’s Bridge is a concern to First Nations communities and other residents. Severe and sudden weather events, which often include road closures, slowing the response time for repairing transmission lines that can bring power into the Fraser Canyon. Having a local source of electricity, connected to the local power grid, is an extra measure of insurance.

As for the recent incident, BC Hydro crews likely worked long and hard, in difficult conditions, to repair the transmission line. Safety is especially important for electrical work, and workers didn’t have to worry that Fraser Canyon residents were suffering from a blackout, thanks to the small project known as Boston Bar Hydro.

Just Posted

UPDATE: Poor ventilation likely cause of carbon monoxide incident at Delta farm

All 42 patients have been released from hospital, according to Delta Fire

Medieval holiday concert, Winter Harp, returns to Chilliwack Cultural Centre Stage

Magical backdrops of cathedrals and wisps of snow set the stage for Winter Harp, a wondrous concert experience set to capture the joy and spirit of the holiday season.

It’s more than Hope that makes the community great

Warm-hearted and fascinating people made reporter’s brief stay in Hope one he’ll never forget

Muddy water has Hope resident seeking a remedy

No one sure of cause, but solution needed

Christmas at Hope’s food bank a busy time for volunteers

Volunteers and love make the difference

VIDEO: Christmas at Kilby feast kicks off holiday eating

Sold-out event driven by volunteer staff

Site C decision coming Monday

Premier John Horgan to announce fate of dam project at B.C. legislature

VIDEO: Man frustrated that Vancouver taxi driver won’t take him home to New Westminster

Kuldip Gill says that not being able to get a ride to the suburbs is a constant problem

Legacy of Amanda Todd lives on through B.C. foundation

Todd’s mother Carol stresses the importance of putting the phone down and talking with children

UPDATE: Train hits hydro pole, causes outage near Deltaport

No injuries reported but traffic in and out of Deltaport is blocked

VIDEO: Vancouver Whitecaps acquire star striker Kei Kamara

Kamara has 103 goals and 39 assists in 298 appearances over 11 Major League Soccer seasons

Smartphone pedometers underestimate steps, but valuable health tool: study

UBC researchers found the iPhone underestimated steps by 21.5 per cent

VIDEO: ‘Last Jedi’ premiere kicks off with droids, Daisy Ridley

Latests Star Wars film premiered in style ahead of Dec. 15 theatre debut

Most Read