Four days after an epic summer storm blackened thousands of lights across the city, exhausted Epcor crews say almost all its customers are powered again.
“This was a huge, huge hit to the electrical system,” said Epcor spokesman Tim le Riche.
The powerful winds of Saturday’s monster storm ripped trees from the ground and sent debris flying into power lines. Over 57,000 customers — including homes, businesses and larger facilities were kicked off the power grid, forcing Epcor crews to begin arduous 16-hour shifts.
“There’s a lot of adrenaline pumping through your body,” said lineman Trevor Valckx. “Especially because power is a dangerous thing — it’s got to be treated with respect.”
Beginning his shift to the sight of soaked patrons wandering around a blackened Whyte Avenue, Valckx realized the night would be one to remember. He added most Edmontonians were grateful for the crews’ extra efforts.
Long-time lineman Bill Worthington said he hasn’t seen a storm with such powerless after-effects since the infamous Black Friday tornado of 1987.
The 28-year veteran said when he looked skyward Saturday night, he knew Epcor crews were in for a massive reconstruction in the storm’s wake.
“In the devastation that it did do, it didn’t just take one service or two services down, it took a block down — to repair that takes a while,” he said.
In the days after the storm, the power authority’s dispatch centre has sent out over 1,000 work orders.
Most residents are running at full power, le Riche said, save a handful whose homes sustained damage outside of Epcor’s grid.