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B.C. heat wave: Spike in temperature can lead to spike in energy bill, says FortisBC

A view of Penticton and Okanagan Lake on Friday, June 25, 2021, where temperatures are expected to hit 37 C on Saturday, and 40 C from Sunday to Wednesday. To prevent a shockingly high energy bill, Fortis says there are several steps people can take to stay cool and avoid costly statements. Global News

With hot weather in this weekend’s forecast, FortisBC is reminding its customers that spikes in temperatures can lead to spikes in energy bills.

“With temperatures expected to rise to over 40 degrees Celsius in some regions within the Okanagan and West Kootenays early next week, FortisBC is expecting demand for electricity to spike in those areas as air conditioners and air source heat pumps work to keep up with demand,” said the energy company.

Read more: As temperatures rise, condo dwellers could be paying more to beat the heat: BC Hydro

To prevent a shockingly high energy bill when the next statement arrives, Fortis says there are several steps people can take to stay cool and reduce electricity use.

The steps include:

  • cooling only the rooms you’re using
  • keeping windows, curtains and blinds closed on sun-facing windows
  • increasing the settings on your thermostat and cooling only when you are at home and awake
  • setting overhead fans to counter-clockwise
  • hanging laundry outside to dry
  • turning the pilot light off on natural gas fireplaces and having it relit in the fall by a licensed gas contractor with your annual furnace maintenance
  • running your dishwasher and other heat-producing appliances during cooler parts of the day
Click to play video: 'B.C. heatwave has air-conditioning industry heating up in Okanagan' B.C. heatwave has air-conditioning industry heating up in Okanagan
B.C. heatwave has air-conditioning industry heating up in Okanagan – Jun 24, 2021

Notably, Fortis says its electric system has been upgraded over the years to handle increased loads during higher temperatures — even during peak times of demand which are typically from 5 to 7 p.m.

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“Longer-term strategies people can take include planting a shade tree on the southwest or southeast side of a home,” said Fortis, “as well as draft-proofing and adding insulation to your home or building to prevent air leaks.”

For more tips on how to beat the heat, visit the HealthLink B.C. website.

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