Without air conditioning and with candles for light, the staff at Pizza Express worked through Thursday night’s dinnertime power outage.
“We didn’t think it was going to last very long, so we just kept working,” restaurant owner Gus Vasilarakis said. “All of our equipment runs on gas, so there was no reason to close down.”
Half of Brandon’s downtown area was affected by the power outage, which started shortly after 6:30 p.m. The outage left 1,600 hydro customers between First and 18th streets and Park and Rosser avenues in the dark for half an hour. Another 400 customers remained powerless until shortly after 8 p.m.
Emergency candles for situations just like this are kept at the restaurant, Vasilarakis said.
“You have to be prepared,” he said. “It was still daylight, so there was some light coming in from outside. The staff were happy and we made it through.”
Between 20 and 30 orders went through the kitchen in the hour and a half the restaurant was without power and Vasilarakis said his staff were able to keep customers happy by bringing candles to each table as well.
A few blocks away, The Dock on Princess was almost completely unaffected. Staff said they could see that all the traffic lights were off outside, but power remained intact.
Manitoba Hydro said the outage was most likely caused by some kind of wildlife coming in contact with a line at the Lorne Avenue station. It triggered a ripple effect through the stations down to Rosser Avenue, where the current burned through a line.
“The downed line is what caused the delay in restoring power at the last station,” said Glenn Schneider, Manitoba Hydro division manager of public affairs.
Wildlife coming in contact with lines happens about two times a month, Schneider said, especially during migration season.
“It’s not uncommon for a squirrel, or a bird, or anything with a wingspan to hit a line and knock out power for a short period,” he said.
The event happened early enough in the evening that hydro crews were still on duty, and some were on call.
On Friday, Manitoba Hydro also announced that it has finished rolling out a new communications program that will dispatch crews with more information about a given incident more efficiently.
Hydro plans to unveil more information about the program on Monday.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition August 24, 2013