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

Demand for electricity reached a record level January 3 | Shutterstock

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 p.m., residents across the province consumed a total of 10,126 megawatts of electricity, which is the most power ever used in a single hour. Before this, the highest electricity ever consumed was on November 29, 2006, also between 5 and 6 p.m., 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 in a press release.

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

The biggest demands on the power grid occur on winter evenings between the hours of 4 and 8 p.m. 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%. Other ways to save power include washing laundry in cold water and unplugging unused electronics.


Check out BIV’s podcast for the week of January 4, 2017: