By Bill Cleverly, Victoria Times Colonist, May 2, 2012
Power outages are becoming a problem for the Capital Regional District’s Fisgard Street headquarters building, say senior staff.
“[The power supply] is becoming less reliable, and it’s certainly less reliable than our old site [on Yates Street],” Diana Lokken, general manager of corporate services, told members of the CRD finance committee on Wednesday.
“We have no idea why our power here is less and less reliable,” she said.
But B.C. Hydro records indicate there have been few problem with the power service to the building.
“In the past year, our records indicate that there have been four outages totalling about two minutes [on the circuit serving the CRD building],” said B.C. Hydro spokesman Ted Olynyk.
Those four incidents don’t include a large transmission outage about three weeks ago that affected the whole east coast of the CRD, including downtown Victoria.
“If there are other outages that have affected the CRD office, we’d certainly like to hear about them,” Olynyk said.
The CRD believes there have been more incidents than the four cited by Olynyk.
The large transmission outage three weeks ago created major difficulties, Lokken said.
“What happened when the backup generator came was everybody lost anything they were working on. So that was the issue,” she said.
Both the corporate data centre and wiring closets on all floors are protected by an uninterruptable power supply (UPS) and backup generator and the CRD’s headquarters, 625 Fisgard St., also has two power feeds to minimize the power outages, said a staff report to CRD directors Wednesday.
Lokken said the backup generator only services selected systems within the building — and that there is a seven-second delay before it kicks in.
In order to try to mitigate the problem, all new computers are being equipped with small UPS units to provide emergency power, Lokken said.
“We’re installing large UPS for accounts payable and payroll because a crash in the middle of doing a a run there would have a substantial impact on staff time to try to figure out what happened,” she said.
But before the CRD embarks on any substantial — and potentially expensive — infrastructure improvements, Lokken said, it would like to see a plan from B.C. Hydro to provide increased reliability of service.
CRD board member and Victoria Coun. Ben Isitt suggested continuing to address the larger issue of power supply, but also recommended setting the auto-save function on individual computers at two-minutes intervals as a temporary fix.
Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins, who also sits on the CRD board, said keeping the lights on is particularly important given the CRD building is designated an emergency response control centre.
The CRD plans to contact B.C. Hydro “asking for a plan to provide reliable, stable power for the CRD Fisgard Headquarters.”
Olynyk said Hydro looks forward to the discussion.