Cold snap leads to dubious power-usage record: BC Hydro

It’s not just cold in the province — it’s record-setting cold, according to BC Hydro.

With temperatures dropping, people have been using more electricity than ever before.

A new record for the highest peak hourly demand for electricity was set on Monday, Jan. 13, when consumption reached 10,302 megawatts, said BC Hydro.

That topped the previous record set on Jan. 3, 2017, when electricity peaked at 10,194 megawatts.

“With below-freezing temperatures and more snow expected over the coming days, the demand for electricity is expected to remain high, and BC Hydro is expecting peak loads between 9,800 and 10,600 megawatts,” said a news release.

“Monday’s peak load is 16 per cent higher than the previous week.”

The demand hits its peak on weekday evenings after people arrive home from work.

“Residential electricity can increase, on average, by 88 per cent in the colder, darker, winter months,” said BC Hydro.

“This can lead to higher heating costs for customers.”

Here’s how you can reduce your electricity usage:

  • Setting thermostat at an ideal temperature based on time of day can help reduce wasted electricity:
    • 16 degrees Celsius when sleeping or away from home
    • 21 degrees Celsius when relaxing, watching TV
    • 18 degrees Celsius when doing housework or cleaning
  • Avoid cranking up the thermostat – cranking up the thermostat does not heat the home up faster than turning it up a degree or two at a time
  • Draft-proofing around windows and doors to reduce heat loss by 10 per cent

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