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Business in Vancouver

Canadian winter weather pushes BC power consumption to its highest level ever

Monday saw the most power used in the province in a single hour

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 05 January, 2017, 11:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 05 January, 2017, 11:14am

By Emma Crawford Hampel

British Columbians have been dealing with low temperatures for the past several days, and this has driven demand for electricity upward with power consumption reaching a record high across the province.

On January 3 between 5 and 6 pm local time, residents across the province consumed a total of 10,126 megawatts of electricity, which is the most power ever used there in a single hour. Before this, the highest electricity ever consumed was on November 29, 2006, also between 5 and 6pm local time, when 10,113 megawatts were consumed.

BC Hydro said demand is expected to remain high over the next several days as the weather forecast shows temperatures are going to remain low.

“BC Hydro is preparing for peak loads between 9,800 and 10,200 megawatts this week,” the utility said.

“Residential energy consumption can increase, on average, by 88 per cent in the colder, darker months.”

The biggest demands on the power grid occur on winter evenings between the hours of 4 and 8pm BC Hydro said there are several easy ways to save energy and cut down on hydro bills; for example, lowering a thermostat two degrees can cut a household’s energy bill by 5 per cent. Other ways to save power include washing laundry in cold water and unplugging unused electronics.

Winter weather pushes power consumption to highest level ever, says BC Hydro