North­ern Health files law­suit over power fail­ure

The Prince George Citizen - - FRONT PAGE - Mark NIELSEN Cit­i­zen staff mnielsen@pgc­i­t­i­zen.ca

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.

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