MONDAY night was the third consecutive night where the all-time summer peak hourly demand record – the hour during the day where customers use the most power – was broken, says BC Hydro. Monday night’s preliminary analysis shows demand reached 8,516 megawatts, shattering the record that was set before the heat wave began by more than 600 megawatts. Adding 600 megawatts is the equivalent of turning on 600,000 portable air conditioners.
Peak load has been steadily increasing over the past week – with the first electricity record for the month of June falling on June 21. Since then, all-time summer records have been broken three nights in a row – Saturday, Sunday and Monday.
As British Columbians have turned to air conditioners and fans to keep cool, the result has been unprecedented demand on BC Hydro’s system for the summertime. In fact, electricity demand has been about 30 per cent higher during this heat wave than the average June day.
While some areas of the province will start to see temperatures decrease on Tuesday, demand for power is expected to remain above normal levels in the coming days.
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 per cent 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.
- Getting pumped: Install a heat pump to help efficiently cool in the summer and heat in the winter. BC Hydro offers rebates up to $2,000 for installing a heat pump.
Over the past few days, BC Hydro has also seen some localized outages on its system. BC Hydro says it appreciates that any outage can be concerning, but even more so in this extreme heat. Customers can be assured that crews are on standby and working hard to restore power quickly. However, the intense heat is adding to what is already an inherently dangerous job for crews. They have to follow extra safety protocols – including shifting work away from the hottest hours of the day and having crews work in short intervals – so in some cases power restoration is taking longer than normal.
BC Hydro says 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 until the end of the heat wave.