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

#MeToo at work: Employers play a role in fixing culture of harassment

B.C. workplaces are getting ahead of being the next MeToo debacle, calling on experts to train staff

Corruption no longer dogs Yale First Nation

A return to traditional governance helps to turn the tide

Emil Anderson earns multiple provincial contractor awards

Family-run companies with a long history in the FV were recognized for excellence in grading and community service

#MeToo at work: How reporting sexual harassment works – and how it doesn’t

British Columbians have four options to report harassment or assault, but none of them are easy

Chilliwack-Hope MP gives a pre-Christmas ribbing in rhyme in Parliament

Conservative Mark Strahl gets his poem in before Liberal Rodger Cuzner rises to do same

Homes in Hope sparkling for the holidays: Part 2

Hope photographer Ray Daws shares some festive sights

B.C. woman brain injured in crash as a baby gets $1.1 million in damages

Trial heard the woman was 16 months old, being carried by her mother when they were both hit

Court denies WestJet’s bid to toss out discrimination lawsuit of former worker

Mandalena Lewis is suing WestJet over allegations of gender-based discrimination

VIDEO: 3 months later, rescued sea lion released back into ocean

The young animal was found in Campbell River three months ago

Sagmoen neighbours recall alleged hammer attack

Woman was screaming outside Maple Ridge townhouse in 2013

UPDATED: Train collides with car in Maple Ridge

Mother and child both uninjured, track cleared at 11 a.m.

Accused B.C. drug smuggler to be extradited

Supreme Court of Canada upholds extradition order for accused Shuswap drug smuggler, Colin Martin

One convicted, two cleared in 2014 deaths of men in B.C.’s Cariboo

Andrew Jongbloets convicted of manslaughter in deaths of Matthew Hennigar, 23 and Kalvin Andy, 22

VIDEO: Pedestrian struck by vehicle caught on security camera

Incident points to danger on the roads not only in low light but also in bright sunshine

Most Read