B.C. Hydro could see record-breaking summer power demand through heat wave | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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B.C. Hydro could see record-breaking summer power demand through heat wave

June 27, 2021 - 8:31 AM

With a rolling heat wave across much of the province, B.C. residents are expected to break power consumption records with their air conditioners.

Temperatures are expected to rise to more than 40 C in parts of the Interior next week. Environment Canada has issued a heat warning, asking residents to be cautious during this unprecedented heat wave.

READ MORE: Peak of heat wave in Okanagan, Kamloops will be record-breaking: meteorologists

Jen Walker-Larsen, stakeholder engagement advisor with B.C. Hydro, said the Crown corporation is seeing an increased demand on its system and depending on how hot it gets, they could see near record-breaking or actual record-breaking demand for power.

“The increase in electricity use is attributed to customers turning on fans and air conditioners, and refrigeration units working harder to stay cool,” she said, via email.

But residents shouldn’t expect any blackouts like California last summer, when demand for electricity was too much for the state.

“Summer demand peaks can easily be met because of the surplus of clean water at B.C. Hydro’s large hydroelectric facilities which guarantee power at any time,” Walker-Larsen said.

On August 18, 2020, B.C. Hydro tied its previous record for the highest peak hourly summer demand for electricity when consumption reached 7,900 megawatts.

However, winter energy draws are significantly higher than in the summer during the cold, dark winter months, she said.

“Our highest record for peak hourly demand was set in the winter on Jan. 13, 2020 when consumption reached 10,302 megawatts,” Walker-Larsen said.

FortisB.C. also announced via press release that its electric system has been upgraded over the years to handle increased load from these higher temperatures, even during peak times of demand which are typically from 5 to 7 p.m. when people return home from their daily activities.


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