A team of power line contractors say they were left on the sidelines when hundreds of thousands across the province were left in the dark.
Rieghardt van Enter is the president of the Line Contractors Association of BC and says contractors were told by BC Hydro they didn’t require their services.
Instead, they went down to help in the States where they say they were needed.
“They were sitting around and frustrated. On the flip side of it, when Puget Sound Energy called and said ‘we need helpm, can you send as many as you can’, the contractors and the men did the work and felt they were finally contributing to the situation.”
“There was a couple of them who actually contacted Hydro and said they were ready with crews to assist, trying to proactively get ahead of the curve and this was on Saturday after the storm had already hit. Then it was around 700,000 people out of power. And Hydro said they wouldn’t require them at this point and time.”
Over 700,000 customers in B.C. were in the dark at some point.
In response, BC Hydro’s president of field and grid operations David Lebeter is refuting those van Enter’s claims.
“Well I can tell you we utilized all the crews that were available to us and at no point did we ever turn anyone away. So I’m not sure why he’d be making that comment.”
“Nobody reached out to us and said we have crews available. All the crews that were available that we knew about, we used.”
Lebeter adds all contractors have to have the right safety training and authorization, adding at the peak of the storm they had 500 workers.