Increased electricity usage as temperatures drop

With winter temperatures continuing to drop, electricity demand across the province continues to increase.

  • Dec. 21, 2016 11:00 a.m.

Sarah Kloos, special to the Valley Echo


With continued cold temperatures province-wide, electricity demand peaked at 9,869 megawatts between 5 and 6 p.m. on Thursday December 8th. That’s a new record for this year as of The Echo’s December 16th press deadline.

The all time record was set in November 2006 with 10,113 megawatts. BC Hydro predicts that demands will stay at a higher level than normal, since this cold snap is expected to continue.

Last week, BC Hydro prepared for peak loads between 9,400 and 10,000 megawatts.

BC Hydro records show that the highest demand for electricity is in the winter months between 4 and 8 p.m. on weekday evenings. That’s when people come home, turn up the heat, flick on the lights, and start making dinner.

In colder, darker months, residential energy consumption can increase by 88 per cent.

There are many ways to stay warm and save power. You can open up your blinds when the sun is out to let the sun heat up the room, and close them at night to make a barricade between the cold air outside and the warm air inside. You can also reduce the temperature in your house to about 16 C while you’re away.

Even though it might be hard, don’t crank the thermostat up. Instead, try to keep the temperature around 20 C when you’re doing housework, and turn your thermostat to 16 degrees when you go to sleep. You can also put on sweaters and fuzzy socks and cozy up in a blanket if you’re reading or watching TV.

Another cool tip is to set your ceiling fans to turn at a low speed this will bring the warm air down into the room.

If your oven is on, you can turn the thermostat down because ovens produce a lot of excess heat that warms your house up significantly. When you’re done using the oven, keep the door open to warm up the house even more.

For more tips on staying warm with less power, visit