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Posted: June 27, 2021

Extreme heat leads to record-breaking electricity demand

BC Hydro set a new record for the highest summer peak hourly demand – the hour customers use the most electricity – on Saturday night when temperatures soared across the province.

The previous record was set on Aug. 18, 2020 when consumption reached 7,897 megawatts. Last night, preliminary analysis found consumption reached 7,972 megawatts. BC Hydro typically sees the highest peak hourly demand on weekdays when customers follow a more “routine” schedule, which makes Saturday’s new record even more unique.

BC Hydro expects demand to increase even further as the temperatures continue to climb. It is predicting demand will peak on Monday and could reach up to 8,300 megawatts, shattering last night’s record.

BC Hydro wants to assure its customers that its clean, hydroelectric system can meet the additional demand. It has also taken important steps to protect the safety of its customers and employees, including canceling the majority of planned outages as well as suspending disconnections for non-payment, BC Hydro stated in a media release.

BC Hydro encourages customers looking for ways to keep cool and save money during the heat wave to consider:

  • Closing the drapes and blinds: Shading windows can block out up to 65 per cent of the heat.
  • Shutting doors and windows: If the temperature outside is warmer than inside, keep doors and windows closed to keep the cooler air in and the warm air out.
  • Using a fan: Running a fan nine hours a day over the summer costs just $7.

Being a star: Purchase an Energy Star air conditioner as they use about 30 to 40% less power than standard units.

Opting for smaller appliances: Use a microwave, crockpot or toaster oven to avoid the extra heat produced by larger appliances when preparing meals.

As the temperatures and demand for power rise, BC Hydro will provide additional updates on how much load has increased and how the system is performing.

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