BC Hydro tips to stay cool

As the temperature rises, BC Hydro is seeing an increase in the overall provincial electricity load

As the temperature rises, BC Hydro is seeing an increase in the overall provincial electricity load. On Monday evening between 5 and 6 p.m., electricity demand peaked at 7,302 megawatts. This represents an increase of 433 megawatts over the previous Monday evening. Generally, BC Hydro sees the highest demand for electricity between 4 and 8 p.m. on weekday evenings.

While BC Hydro has enough capacity available to serve the additional electricity load, the energy required to serve this increase in demand is equivalent to running four Ruskin generating stations at maximum capacity.

Unlike utilities in California or Ontario, BC Hydro experiences peak load in the winter months when people are using more heat in their homes. For the average B.C. household, about 50 per cent of home energy use over the year is for space heating, generated by electricity, gas or a combination of both. The highest hourly peak demand recorded was set on Nov. 29, 2006, when consumption reached 10,113 megawatts between 5 and 6 p.m.

With record-breaking high temperatures around the province this week, BC Hydro is reminding customers how to stay cool and save power during this summer’s first heat wave.

• Keep cool air in, and hot air out: lock out hot air during the day and open windows to let cooler air in during the evenings.

• Keep the blinds down: shade your windows and block up to 65 per cent of the heat.

• Use a ceiling fan: ceiling fans are the most efficient option for cooling. A ceiling fan can use one-tenth the energy of an air conditioner and is a great alternative. To lower indoor temperatures by up to ten per cent, ensure the fan is rotating counter-clockwise.

• Make laundry a breeze: hang dry half of your laundry to save up to $50 while keeping unnecessary heat out of your house.

• Fire up the barbeque: cook outside to reduce the use of your stove or oven.

• Keep your cool – Take shorter, cooler showers. Reduce your shower time by one minute and save $15 per person. That’s $60 for a family of four.

BC Hydro encourages customers to create an online account, called MyHydro, to track their electricity consumption and manage their accounts. For more information, visit bchydro.com/myhydro.