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Electricity-use record broken for 2nd time in 1 week as B.C tries to stay warm

Consumption around dinner time Wednesday (Dec. 21) hit over 10,900 megawatts
British Columbians once again topped the province’s power consumption record on Wednesday evening (Dec. 21), for the second time in one week. The above-normal use comes amidst a severe cold snap. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

Just two days after breaking the province’s power consumption record, British Columbians have done it again.

On Wednesday evening (Dec. 21), between 5 and 6 p.m., BC Hydro says people collectively consumed over 10,900 megawatts of electricity – about 100 megawatts higher than the same time on Monday.

For context, one megawatt is estimated to be enough to power 400 to 900 homes in a year, depending on climate.

Prior to this week’s records, the highest known demand was from Dec. 27, 2021, when 10,762 megawatts were consumed in a one-hour period.

This week’s snowstorm and cold snap have British Columbians pulling from the power grid like never before, though.

“The extreme cold has British Columbians turning up the heat. [Wednesday] night’s consumption was more than 15 per cent higher than the peak hourly demand recorded last Wednesday before the cold snap began,” BC Hydro spokesperson Susie Rieder said in a news release.

With extreme cold warnings issued across much of the province Thursday, and wind chills expected to drop as low as -40 C, it’s possible British Columbians could beat the record again this week.

READ ALSO: ‘Potentially dangerous’: Arctic front bringing icy winds, freezing rain to much of B.C.

BC Hydro says it’s not concerned with keeping up with the demand. It says increased consumption can get pricey for people, though.

The electricity supplier suggests people adjust their thermostat depending on their activities. It recommends 16 C while sleeping, 18 C while doing household tasks or moving around and 21 C while relaxing or sitting still.

It also suggests covering windows with blinds or coverings for extra insulation, and using caulking and weather stripping to fill in gaps and cracks.


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About the Author: Jane Skrypnek

I'm a provincial reporter for Black Press Media.
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