New record set for electricity demand: FortisBC

FILE. FortisBC. Global News

FortisBC says a new record for electricity demand was broken this week.

According to the energy company, customers in the Southern Interior used 777 megawatts on Monday, Dec. 27, eclipsing the old mark of 764 megawatts.

The previous record was set earlier this year, on June 29, during the scorching heat dome that saw temperatures rise to the high 40s in the region.

Read more: British Columbians break record for peak electricity demand during extreme cold

Further, energy consumed during that blistering heat-dome day shattered the previous record of 746 megawatts, which was set on Dec. 20, 2008.

So, not only did this week’s record break the recently set record by 13 megawatts, but it was also 31 megawatts more than the previous winter peak in 2008.

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FortisBC says peak electricity use tends to occur in mid-January.

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A megawatt is one million watts — a massive amount of power.

And all that power was consumed in just one big area: from the Central Okanagan to the South Okanagan, and east to Creston.

For context, the company says Monday’s demand was more than three times the capacity of its four hydroelectric facilities located on the Kootenay River. Those dams, all built prior to 1940, can create 225 megawatts.

One website states that the average Canadian household uses 11,135 kilowatt-hours per year.

FortisBC says, on average, 62 per cent of energy used by a homeowner goes to space heating, with 19 per cent for water heating, followed by appliances and electronics (14 per cent), lighting (3 per cent) and space cooling (2 per cent).

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“With heating systems working overtime in the winter months to keep our homes warm, customers may see an increase in their electricity and natural gas bills as more energy is needed,” said Fortis.

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The company says there are ways to reduce energy use while remaining comfortable.

  • Identify areas that are losing heat and seal the gaps and cracks, especially around windows and doors
  • Turn down the heat in unused rooms if possible
  • Clean the furnace filter and vacuum out baseboard heaters
  • Install a programmable or smart thermostat to manage monitor how often the furnace turns on.

Fortis said if a customer is having trouble with a higher-than-average bill, they are encouraged to phone 1-866-436-7847 for electricity and 1-888-224-2710 for gas.

For more advice on how to lower energy bills, visit FortisBC’s website.


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