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BC Hydro usage sets new record in these freezing temperatures

Last Updated Dec 9, 2016 at 10:38 am PDT

(iStock Photo)

Overall, demand for power jumped by 18 per cent

A similar record set in November 10 years ago still stands

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Given how quickly temperatures have dipped this week, this may not surprise you. BC Hydro says demand for electricity has reached a new high for the year.

With the mercury well below the freezing mark across much of the province, the utility saw electricity demand peak at 9,869 megawatts between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. yesterday. Overall, it says demand for power increased by 18 per cent which is nearly 1,500 megawatts higher than last Thursday’s peak demand of 8,393 megawatts.

BC Hydro says usage during the winter months tends to be the highest between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. on weekday evenings which it says is when people come home, turn up the heat, switch on the lights and make dinner.

You may think you’re saving some money by using a space heater instead of turning up the heat, but Mora Scott with the utility says that’s not true. “Space heating alone can account for about 40 to 50 per cent of your home’s electricity bill, that’s really why we encourage customers to use something like a programmable thermostat.”

She adds it’s also a good idea to put on a sweater and some socks instead of turning up the heat and to unplug any electronics or appliances you’re not using. It’s also suggested you wash your laundry in cold water.

A record set in November 2006 of 10,113 megawatts still stands.