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West coasters living on 'Island Time' due to hydro upgrade

Katie Jones
Digital Reporter

Sunday, September 20, 2015, 8:33 AM - The province of British Columbia is known, and often envied, for a relaxed, laid back lifestyle that runs at a much slower pace than the rest of the country.

And recently, there is truth behind that perception, as time literally slows down on Vancouver Island this week -- at least as far as the clocks are concerned. 

"It’s always been known time moved at a slower pace on the west coast, but now Tofino can literally make this claim," says Weather Network meteorologist Tyler Hamilton.

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A major upgrade to the current system means individual areas are being switched off the main grid and over to local generators, according to BC Hydro. As a result, clocks plugged in are running up to fifteen minutes behind.

The industry refers to the process as 'islanding.' Though power is still being supplied, a very slight alteration means that the time-keeping devices are the only electrical item affected, slowing losing minutes over a 10-day period.

“Normally the frequency is 60 hertz, and so when an area is islanded, it operates at just under 60 hertz so that means the clocks run a bit slower,” Simi Heer, a spokeswoman for BC Hydro, told the Vancouver Sun.

Residents living in coastal communities such as Tofino and Ucluelet noticed that clocks were running a few minutes behind late last week, and they can expect the lapse in time to continue until all work is completed on September 24.

The delay only affects electric clocks that are plugged in, and will not alter the times on computers, watches or mobile devices.

For parts of Vancouver Island, the busy summer tourist season is starting to wind down, and many locals will likely welcome the return to a slower pace of life.

Parts of the province have had their share of electrical woes over the past month. 

A severe windstorm, the worst in a decade, raked through parts of southern B.C. earlier in September, leaving more than half a million customers in the dark and dumping four months worth of rain on the Lower Mainland.

Source: Vancouver Sun

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