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Arctic outflow leads to new record for peak electricity demand: BC Hydro

BC Hydro recommends turning off heat when no one is home to save on power bills
A man walks a dog after an overnight snowfall in Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Dec. 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

The province recorded a new record for peak electricity demand as temperatures plunged below -20C in some parts of B.C.

According to BC Hydro, demand hit an all-time high of 10,902 megawatts between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Monday (Dec. 27), breaking the previous record of 10,577 megawatts set in 2020.

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

BC Hydro said that overall electricity use has been on the rise since Friday, with Monday’s hourly peak demand being 18 per cent higher than Friday’s. More snow is expected for much of B.C. with up to 10 centimetres for the south coast and 15 centimetres for the Cariboo area.

Heer said that while BC Hydro has enough supply to meet this demand, British Columbians are encouraged to use power-intensive appliances such as laundry machines and dishwashers during off-peak hours either early in the day or later in the evening.

To save on their power bill, BC Hydro said that households should turn down the heat when no one is home. The utility recommends 16C when people are sleeping or away from home, 21C when relaxing or watching TV and 18C when doing housework or cleaning.

Other power-saving tips include not cranking the thermostat higher than needed, keeping windows covered with blinds of drapes, draftproofing your home by sealing gaps and leaks – especially at doors and windows – using energy-efficient lighting and putting timers on outdoor lights and washing clothing with cold water.

READ MORE: BC Ferries cancels round trips due to freezing temperatures


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