Cold weather leads to higher electricity demand

As the temperatures drop, BC Hydro is expecting an increase in the overall provincial electricity use.

It said in a statement that electricity demand peaked at 9,102 megawatts, on Monday evening, December 2, between 5 and 6 pm. This compares to a peak of only 8,723 megawatts on Monday, November 26. Generally, BC Hydro sees the highest demand for electricity between 4 and 8 pm on weekday evenings — the time of day when people come home, turn up the heat, do their laundry, make dinner, switch on the TV, etc.

BC Hydro expects demand to stay high in the evenings this week as the cold weather persists throughout the province and is expecting a peak of 9,500 to 10,000 megawatts this week. The highest peak demand on record was observed on November 29, 2006, when consumption reached 10,113 megawatt, between 5 and 6 pm. 
British Columbians can reduce energy use to offset an increase in heating requirements. Easy ways people can save on their daily power use include: washing clothes in cold water, turning off the ‘heat dry’ function on the dishwasher and using a programmable thermostat to heat their house only when they are home.

Most of the electricity generated and used in BC is produced by large facilities in the north and the southeast of the province. The GM Shrum generating station and the Peace Canyon generating station on the Peace River produce about one-third of the electricity generated in BC each year, and the Columbia River facilities – including Revelstoke, Mica and Seven Mile – produce about one-half. The electricity is distributed to cities and towns using 76,000 kilometres of distribution and transmission lines.

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