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BC Hydro sets winter usage record

A new record for peak electricity demand on BC Hydro’s system has been set after extremely low temperatures struck most of the province.

According to BC Hydro officials, demand hit its all-time high of 10,902 megawatts between 5 and 6 p.m. on Monday, December 27th.

The previous record, which was set in 2020, saw usage reach 10,577 megawatts.

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

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BC Hydro officials said an overall increase was observed since Christmas Eve, as Monday’s peak demand was 18 per cent higher than Friday’s.

“BC Hydro has enough supply options in place to meet increasing electricity demand,” adds Heer. “However, if British Columbians want to help ease some of the demand on the system during peak times, we encourage shifting activities like doing laundry or running dishwashers to earlier in the day or later in the evening.”

BC Hydro has offered several suggestions to help customers save money on their electricity bills.

  • Manage your home heating actively by turning the heat down when no one is home or when everyone is sleeping. BC Hydro officials recommends the following temperatures:
    • 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.
  • Keep windows covered with blinds and drapes for an extra layer of window insulation.
  • Draftproof your home to reduce heat loss. Use caulking and weather stripping to seal gaps and cracks around doors, windows and outlets to prevent heat from leaking out.
  • Use energy-efficient lighting and put timers on your outdoor lights, including holiday lights, so they do not remain on.
  • Try washing your clothes in cold water only or turning off the heat-dry function on your dishwasher.
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