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Every day is like Saturday during pandemic, Hydro survey finds

Citynews 1130 Vancouver

Last Updated Jun 12, 2020 at 9:02 pm PDT

Summary

Most B.C. residents have changed their daily routines during the pandemic: report

Weekday electricity use is peaking later in the morning and earlier in the evening, says Hydro

Nearly 40 per cent of British Columbians are waking up later on weekdays, says report

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Most B.C. residents have changed their daily routines during the pandemic, from working at home to sleeping in later and grooming less, according to a new report from BC Hydro.

The report, “Powering the new normal: How COVID-19 has changed British Columbians’ daily habits and electricity use,” found that since mid-March, nearly 90 per cent of British Columbians have drastically shifted their daily routines, including nearly 40 per cent who are working at home five days a week.

“While overall residential electricity use is at normal levels for this time of year, BC Hydro data shows the changes to British Columbians’ daily habits has resulted in weekday electricity use peaking later in the morning and earlier in the evening, and now more closely resembles typical weekend patterns,” says a release from Hydro.

The report says with few people commuting to work, nearly 40 per cent of British Columbians are waking up later on weekdays. Of those, more than 60 per cent are waking up more than an hour later than they normally would.

“Waking up later means a delayed start to the daily grind – nearly 45 per cent of British Columbians said they are eating breakfast at a later time, and 24 per cent said they are showering less often and for shorter periods of time in the morning than they used to, contributing to the later morning peak in electricity use,” says Hydro.

The survey also found that being home on weekdays has changed the frequency and timing of cooking, contributing to an earlier evening electricity peak.

Almost half of those surveyed said they are cooking more now than they were pre-pandemic, and almost a quarter are making dinner earlier.

Around 40 per cent said they are baking more, while turning to TV and streaming services more due to pandemic restrictions.

The survey found around 60 per cent of people are watching more TV than before the pandemic – with 15 per cent doing so during the day on weekdays.

Increased TV time might also be delaying bedtime as 30 per cent of those surveyed are going to bed later. Nearly 80 per cent of them are going to bed more than an hour later than they used to.

To save energy and money, BC Hydro recommends:

  • using a laptop instead of a desktop. which uses 80 per cent less electricity;
  • cooking with smaller appliances, such as multi-use pressure cookers, microwaves and toaster ovens that use up to 75 per cent less energy than a large electric oven;
  • streaming movies or TV shows on a device such as a smart TV instead of a game console as it uses 40 per cent less electricity;
  • tracking electricity use with MyHydro to see how at-home activities impact a household’s electricity use.

British Columbians facing financial hardship due to COVID-19 can apply for the COVID-19 Relief Fund until June 30.