Residential tree trimming results in hours without power for Magrath residents

Click to play video: 'Residential tree trimming results in hours without power for Magrath, Alta.' Residential tree trimming results in hours without power for Magrath, Alta.
WATCH: Southern Albertans in Magrath and parts of Cardston County found themselves without power on Tuesday morning. Kyle Benning tells us the interesting story behind the outage and how it could have been prevented – Mar 5, 2019

Fortis Alberta and a tree-pruning company have said that tree trimming was responsible for a power outage that left more than 1,000 people in Magrath and Cardston County without power on Tuesday.

The power outage brought classes to a halt at the town’s recently modernized school.

“When you lose power, all of a sudden you realize how many things that we have that are dependent on the power system that is there, and without it, it makes operating a school very difficult,” said Magrath High School principal Rob Doig.

It resulted in the cancellation of afternoon classes — something Doig said students took extremely well.

READ MORE: ‘We’re really excited for the kids’ — Magrath schools show off renovations

He added that class time is valuable, and teachers try to use every second they have with students.

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“We can’t control when things out of our control take place. When it does happen, we’ve just got to be prepared to deal with ensuring the safety of students and making the best decisions we possibly can,” Doig said.

The power outage occurred around noon when a tree-pruning company accidentally sent a stray branch towards a main power line.

The company had been hired by a Magrath resident to clear a tree on his lawn.

Fortis Alberta said that anyone planning to do work near a power line should take the proper precautions and always notify the utility company.

“Whether you’re trimming trees or moving a high load or anything like that around power lines, you don’t want to take any chances. (The) best is just to make sure all your bases are covered. Give us a call at 310-WIRE, and we’ll walk you through how to do it safely,” said communications adviser Kevin Haslbeck.

READ MORE: About 9,000 customers affected by power outages across several Edmonton neighbourhoods

Global News spoke with the resident and the contractor involved in the tree pruning, but neither wanted to appear on camera.

Fortis Alberta said power was restored to all of its affected customers by 2:30 p.m.


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