Company Facts & Financials
How We've Changed
C Hydro has earned a solid reputation for keeping the lights on. When power outages occur, BC Hydro is there to restore power 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, in operations all over BC.
We supply electricity across some of the world's most rugged terrain and extreme climates, utilizing a complex network of generating stations, transmission and distribution lines, switching stations and telecommunications and control systems.
Our reliability rating - the amount of time service is available - is 99.97%. The average time it takes to repair an outage is two hours - impressive figures considering the geographic challenges of this vast province.
There are many reasons for this performance. Recognizing that almost half of our outages are caused by weather and trees coming into contact with power lines, we've undertaken extensive vegetation management programs in our distribution system over the past several years. This has reduced the number of outages caused by fallen trees and branches. As well, we're proud of the excellent design, maintenance and operating practices of our skilled employees.
But we know there's room for improvement. Right now we're planning to install new computer technology that will allow us to efficiently handle the more than 250,000 customer outage calls we receive each year. New technology will help to accurately pinpoint the cause of the outage and will enable us to dispatch crews to the source of the problem more quickly. This new technology will also allow us to provide better information to our customers on the expected length of the outage.
We're making other improvements too. Birds and animals cause over 3,000 power outages each year when they make contact with electrical equipment and lines. This means power outages to our customers, as well as bird and animal mortality. So we're installing bird guards on some lines and insulating station equipment to prevent outages and protect birds and small animals.
The BC Hydro transmission system is part of an integrated network stretching across western North America from BC to Mexico and as far east as Colorado. This web of interconnections increases the reliability of the overall network and allows electricity trade among utilities. Participation in this electricity market helps to keep power costs low for BC Hydro customers.
The Power is Yours
Did you know that British Columbians enjoy some of the lowest electricity prices in the world? Residential power is cheaper here than in Toronto, Calgary, Seattle and Los Angeles, for example.
Our excellent record of 99.97% reliability means the average BC Hydro customer is without power for less than three hours total per year.
To improve service reliability we've installed sophisticated technology that allows us to operate the system closer to its limits and helps to locate and isolate faults quickly to reduce outage times.
Using remotely operated submarines to survey the condition of undersea cables supplying Vancouver Island is another effective use of advanced technology that helps to keep the power on.