SUMMERLAND – Some Summerland residents are still dealing with fallout from a power surge in late November, when meters were blown off homes and electrical appliances damaged.
They’re not getting answers from the District of Summerland about how it happened – and are being asked to pay to have their home electrical systems tested.
The BC Safety Authority is requiring homeowners, whose meters were damaged, to verify the integrity of their homes’ electrical systems.
“The megger test will be at the expense of each property owner because it is required to verify the integrity of individual home electrical systems and not the District’s electrical infrastructure,” wrote manager of utilities for the District of Summerland Devon van der Meulen in letters to homeowners.
That doesn’t sit well with resident Guy Henley, who thinks the district should be paying.
“It is none of our fault that this happened,” says Henley.
“We understand it is not their fault. It is not the district’s fault,” says van der Meulen. “The district is not requiring the megger test, it is the BC Safety Authority… As far as we know there has been no negligence on the part of the district. It was an anomaly that we will determine the cause of.”
The district says 69 meters were damaged in the surge. Donald Causton was in his kitchen when it happened.
“The whole house basically had a loud bang,” says Causton. “The coffee pot in the kitchen was fried and all of the surge protectors in the house were blown and a few other smaller appliances and the stereo.”
His meter was damaged but the impact was even bigger for some of his neighbour’s electrical meters.
“We discovered that the power surge was powerful enough that it had blown six or seven meters completely off the house,” he says.
The Corporation of Summerland supplies his electricity. Causton is not happy with the lack of answers from the civic utility.
“Power surges aren’t unheard of, they happen, but one thing I can’t fathom is the city can’t tell us why we had a power surge,” says Causton.
Van der Meulen says the district doesn’t know for sure what caused the surge.
“Our electrical engineer is reviewing data from our system and we are still collecting more data from Fortis. We are expecting within the next couple of weeks to have an answer,” says van der Meulen.
FortisBC says it is also participating in the investigation.