BC Hydro expects province-wide electricity demand to reach near-record breaking highs on Monday evening. Decreasing temperatures have resulted in a significant increase in overall provincial electricity use.
In a statement released on Monday, December 1, the utility said electricity demand peaked at 9,346 megawatts on Sunday evening between 5 and 6 pm. 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.
“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, and switch on the TV,” the statement said.
“BC 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 pm.”
To ensure that BC continues to have the electricity it needs, especially during periods of peak demand in the winter, two new generating units are being installed at Mica Generating Station – one of the largest generating facilities in BC Hydro’s system. Mica was originally designed to hold six generating units, but only four were installed when the station was constructed in the 1970s.
The two new generating units will provide an additional 1,000 megawatts of capacity to the system. The fifth unit will be online before the end of the year. The sixth unit is currently under construction and will be in-service in late 2015.
To offset increasing heat requirements, there are a number of easy ways British Columbians can save on their daily power use, including:
- 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.
For additional tips, please go to bchydro.com/winter.