Number of B.C. power outages caused by severe weather up 265% over past 5 years

WATCH: Neetu Garcha has more on why we're seeing a spike in severe weather and how crews are trying to keep up with more frequent adverse conditions

Increasingly severe weather in British Columbia has led to a big spike in power outages across the province, according to a new BC Hydro report.

The Crown utility said power outages caused by severe weather have quadrupled in B.C. over the past five years. coverage of BC Hydro

The report said the number of customer outages during major storm events has increased by 265 per cent, up from 323,000 customers in 2013 to nearly 1.2 million in 2017.

BC Hydro spokesperson Kevin Aquino their team of in-house meteorologists have identified that “we have been experiencing more extreme weather that is evident with the summer wildfires and the winter ice storms.”

The combination of felled trees and adverse weather account for nearly 60 per cent of all outages, with B.C. Hydro noting it has three times more trees per kilometre of transmission line than any other utility in the continent.

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READ MORE: Some B.C. Hydro customers spend hundreds of dollars a year to leave heat, TV on for their pets

Chris O’Riley, Hydro’s chief operating officer, says in a release that despite higher numbers of storms and fires, the use of new technology and processes is allowing crews to restore power almost as quickly as they did when such events were less intense.

“In fact, about 95 per cent of customers’ power is restored within 24 hours following an extreme event,” said O’Riley.

Hydro is reminding people to have a well-stocked emergency kit ready, after a survey it commissioned found nearly half of British Columbiams aren’t prepared for an outage.

— With files from The Canadian Press

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