Power demand spiked in cold snap

Use peaked at 9,346 megawatts

BC Hydro expected province-wide electricity demand to reach near-record breaking highs Monday evening.

Decreasing temperatures have resulted in a significant increase in overall provincial electricity use.

Electricity demand peaked at 9,346 megawatts on Sunday evening between 5 and 6 p.m. This was 1,550 megawatts higher than the peak demand on the Sunday the week before. The power required to serve this increase in demand is equivalent to running three of the four turbines at Mica Generating Station at maximum capacity.

BC Hydro usually sees the highest demand for electricity between 4 and 8 p.m. on weekday evenings – the time of day when people come home, turn up the heat, do their laundry, make dinner, and turn on the TV.

Hydro expects demand to stay high until temperatures increase later this week and is expecting a peak of about 10,100 megawatts on Monday night. The highest hourly peak demand ever was recorded on Nov. 29, 2006, when consumption reached 10,113 megawatts between 5 and 6 p.m.

Temperatures in Abbotsford plummeted to the -8 C mark in some spots, with a dusting of snow on Friday night.

Environment Canada is calling for clouds and showers on Thursday, with highs near 4, rising to 8 by the weekend, with more rain.

To offset increasing heat requirements, there are a number of easy ways residents can save on their daily power use, including:

• Washing clothes in cold water.

• Turning off the “heat dry” function on the dishwasher.

• Using a programmable thermostat to heat their house only when they are home.