Northern Health files lawsuit over power failure
Northern Health is suing the supplier of electrical equipment, blaming one of its products for a major power failure at University Hospital of Northern B.C. in Prince George.
The agency is seeking damages from ASCO Power Technologies Canada, its parent company Emerson Electric Canada Ltd. and U.S.-based ASCO Power Technologies, LP for costs associated with a Nov. 12, 2015 incident.
According to a notice of claim filed Nov. 7 in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver, a “catastrophic failure” of an automatic transfer switch, which switches a load between two sources when it senses a source has lost or gained power, caused a “facility-wide power interruption and significant damage to electrical equipment and fixtures” at UHNBC. Elective surgeries were cancelled that day. It was the second time a switch purchased from ASCO had failed. The first occurred in June 2007 causing equipment failures and significant disruption. That same month, the second switch was purchased from ASCO and Northern Health claims it was on the understanding it would be “durable for a reasonable period of time.”
Ten months before the 2015 failure, ASCO “purportedly tested, inspected and provided maintenance” on the second switch but did not tell Northern Health of any concerns.
“The 2015 failure occurred unexpectedly and prematurely, within eight years of the installation of the second switch, during which it was used solely for the purpose to which it was normally used,” Northern Health said in the notice of claim.
Northern Health contends ASCO should cover the costs of repairing and replacing the damaged equipment, the subsequent investigation into the cause, removing and replacing the switch and other associated costs.
ASCO has not yet filed a response and the claims have not yet been tested in court.