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British Columbians set new energy record during cold snap: Fortis

On Dec. 27, FortisBC set a new electric system record with 777 megawatts used, beating the June 2021 record of 764 megawatts used, and the previous winter record with 746 megawatts used in December 2008.

With a colder than average winter season and a series of snowstorms hitting the region earlier than expected, FortisBC is now encouraging customers to manage their energy use and save money, as high monthly bills are expected during cold snaps with home heating systems working over-time. 

Customers usually have their highest energy use between January and March and most expensive energy bills from February to April, a FortisBC media release said.

“The low temperatures we experienced can cause heating systems to use more energy as they work overtime, which can result in our customers seeing seasonal energy bill spikes,” Colin Norman, manager, conservation and energy management at FortisBC said in the release. “By proactively monitoring energy use and understanding how to manage it, customers can conserve energy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save money year-round.”

Energy is used every day to control temperature, turn on lights, heat water, and run appliances.

According to Natural Resources Canada, more than 60% of the energy used in a home goes toward space heating, FortisBC said.

READ MORE: Price of Fortis B.C. electricity going up in 2022

FortisBC customers can reduce heat loss in their homes, even on the coldest days, by reducing air leaks and drafts with caulking and weatherstripping to seal gaps and cracks, closing doors and vents, turning down the thermostat in unoccupied rooms, connecting a thermostat to a device to manage heat when not at home, servicing appliances regularly to ensure they are operating safely and efficiently or replacing equipment with high-efficiency models.

Every household manages energy differently, but FortisBC customers can use online tools to help track usage, or using their online account to create a customized action plan to lower winter energy use.

If anyone received a higher-than-expected bill or needs help paying a bill, they are encouraged to contact the FortisBC’s customer service team for help in finding the reason for the higher-than-expected bill, finding a solution and determining if they qualify for rebates.

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