Extreme cold sets records as SaskEnergy usage soars
Temperatures across Saskatchewan dipped to near -50 C with the wind chill last night.
For SaskEnergy, that means taking a peek at the record books.
“We came really close,” said Dave Burdeniuk, SaskEnergy’s director of media realtions. “The last few days, we’ve come very close to our record mark. Not over but extremely close.”
The 1.45 petajoule record set on Dec. 26 is the third consecutive all-time high this month (with all-time highs also recorded on Dec. 24 and Dec. 25), and they’re on pace for another record.
“This is the greatest use we’ve seen ever in our history,” Burdeniuk remarked. “Usually when we have a peak day it will be one, maybe two days. To have seven in a row? That’s unheard of.”
While the cold is setting consumption records for SaskEnergy, it’s also going to leave a mark on people’s wallets.
READ MORE: Saskatchewan remains under a deep freeze
Thankfully, experts say the end is near.
“We’re looking at a transition in the first week of January,” explained Environment Canada meteorologist John Paul Clagg.
“Temperatures will go from these extremely cold temperatures we’re seeing to temperatures that are more average for this time of year.”
Until that happens, there’s still plenty consumers need to be aware of, especially the dangers that come with increased heating.
This week alone, SaskEnergy has responded to four serious cases of carbon monoxide poisoning across the province.
“We’re getting two to five calls a day, depending on the day,” noted Regina Fire Services fire marshal Randy Ryba. “We’re averaging about 150 calls a year and that’s mostly during the heating season.
Carbon monoxide isn’t the only threat. Extreme cold means increased electrical consumption as well, something that has the fire department equally worried.
“People need to be diligent, especially during this cold weather with all sorts of heating devices,” Ryba cautioned. “Especially with extension cords. We see an increased call volume when it gets extremely cold with devices, heaters, and all that.”
According to Ryba there are a handful of people across the province killed each year as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning. Even more who lose their homes, or worse, as a result of electrical fires during the heating season.
© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.