B.C. sets new record for peak electricity use amid extreme low temperatures: BC Hydro

B.C. sets new record for peak electricity use amid extreme low temperatures: BC Hydro
Maggie MacPherson/CBC

BC Hydro has revealed that British Columbia has set a new record for peak electricity demand on Monday evening due to the extreme low temperatures in many parts of the province.

According to BC Hydro, demand for electricity hit an all-time high of 10,902 megawatts between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. on December 27.

This trumps the previous record-high demand of 10,577 megawatts set in 2020.

“The record represents a single moment in the hour when demand for electricity was the highest yesterday,” says Simi Heer, BC Hydro spokesperson. “Most of the increase is likely due to additional home heating required during this cold snap.”

In addition to the peak demand record on Monday, BC Hydro says it has observed an overall increase in electricity demand since last Friday.

“BC Hydro has enough supply options in place to meet increasing electricity demand,” adds Heer. “However, if British Columbians want to help ease some of the demand on the system during peak times, we encourage shifting activities like doing laundry or running dishwashers to earlier in the day or later in the evening.”

In an effort to help British Columbians reduce the amount of power they are using during these cold temperatures while also lowering their electricity bills, BC Hydro advises residents to manage home heating actively by turning the heat down when no one is home or when everyone is sleeping. The organization suggests the use of programmable thermostats to automatically adjust temperatures at different times based on your family’s activities.

British Columbians are being advised to avoid cranking the thermostat as well, outlining instead that people turn the temperature up a degree or two at a time.

Windows can be used for extra insulation by being covered with blinds or drapes and clothes can be washed in cold water to lower electricity use.

Additionally, BC Hydro recommends using energy-efficient lighting and putting timers on your outdoor lights, including holiday lights, so they do not remain on the entire day.


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