BC Hydro investigates subsea cable oil leak

4C Offshore | Tom Russell
By: 14/07/2021 BC Hydro

BC Hydro has initiated the repair process for one of its subsea cables, which extends from the Sunshine Coast to Vancouver Island.


BC Hydro's monitoring system detected a bulge and oil leak – above ground and not underwater – in one of its submarine cables. The cable was taken out of service and the cause of the leak is still being determined. It has been contained and repairs are underway.


Over the weekend, BC Hydro found that there was some bulging of two other cables. As a result, it decided to reduce the load on these cables and has been monitoring their performance.
The company stated it regularly monitors its infrastructure and inspections on all its submarine cables that serve Vancouver Island were recently completed in mid-June 2021 with no deficiencies identified.

BC Hydro is investigating the possibility that damage could have been caused by the impact of extreme heat in late June.
Following a period of unprecedented demand after June temperatures reached a staggering 42.7 degrees, and where the all-time summer peak hourly demand record was broken. Potentially part of the cause could be that demand for power reached 8,516 MW, shattering the record that was set before the heat wave began by more than 600 MW.

BC Hydro is using its available generation capacity on Vancouver Island and independent power producers to meet customer demand. It is also informing its largest industrial customers on Vancouver Island of this challenge in the event they need to reduce load in the future.


Contingency measures are being undertaken as part of its commitment to ensure the continued delivery of safe and reliable power to customers on Vancouver Island. Additional contingency plans are in place should BC Hydro need to further reduce the electricity demand on Vancouver Island.


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