Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Extreme Cold is setting hydro consumption records in British Columbia

The Arctic conditions that have transited from the Far north and on into the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island are making for record consumption of hydro resources this month in the province.

BC Hydro outlined the record breaking call for hydro on Tuesday, noting that Monday evening had made for the peak hour electricity demand for the service. 

Hydro officials observing that preliminary analysis found consumption between 5 and 6 p.m. reached over 10,800 megawatts – the highest ever recorded. 

This was driven by additional heating requirements. 

The previous record was set back in December of 2021, when consumption reached 10,762 megawatts.

BC Hydro Spokesperson, Susie Rieder offered up some reassurance for hydro users that the utility is ready to continue to meet the demand.

"With more sub-zero temperatures in the coming days, BC Hydro expects demand will remain high and there is the potential to see this latest record fall before the cold snap ends. Despite the significant increase, we want to assure our customers that we will continue to be able to meet demand for electricity across the province this winter because of our large integrated hydroelectric system."

BC Hydro has also offered up some suggestions for homeowners to gain the most out of their hydro consumption during this ongoing time of arctic weather.

Manage home heating actively by turning the heat down when no one his home or when everyone is sleeping. Consider installing a programmable thermostat to automatically adjust temperatures at different times based on your household's activities. BC Hydro 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.

And when it comes to the battle of the household thermostat, BC Hydro advises not to crank the temperature up rapidly as it really doesn't change things much. 

Avoid cranking up the thermostat – it does not heat the home up faster than turning it up a degree or two at a time. 

Keep windows covered with blinds and drapes for an extra layer of window insulation. Window coverings can be a quick and cost-effective way to cut heat loss and block cold drafts. 

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 and cold air from coming in.

More on BC Hydro's efforts in the cold weather times can be reviewed here.

Past notes on Hydro themes can be explored from our archive page.

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