Snow causes spike in Hydro usage

Dec 6 2016, 8:17 pm

With cold winter weather officially making its mark on BC, BC Hydro is seeing an increase in electrical demand across the province.

Snow blanketed Vancouver on Monday December 5, causing commuter chaos and a surge in calls to ICBC’s claims line as motorists battled the wintery weather. BC Hydro was also affected, experiencing a 10% spike in energy usage across the region.

“Our peak demand last night between five and six pm was about 9,300 megawatts,” BC Hydro spokesperson Mora Scott told Daily Hive on Tuesday. “That’s about 10% higher than the peak last Monday night.”

The increase in demand is primarily due to the cold weather, but it can also be attributed to the shorter, darker days.

And with winter weather in the forecast for the next few days, that demand is expected to continue to rise.

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“We’re preparing for peak loads between 9,400 and 10,000 megawatts,” Scott furthered.

That amount is close to the highest demand on record, which was observed on November 29, 2006, when power consumption reached 10,113 megawatts between 5 and 6 pm.

Generally, BC Hydro sees the highest demand for electricity between 4 and 8 p.m. on weekdays. This is typically when people get home and do things like turn up the heat, make dinner, do laundry, and so on, Scott said.

Eric ZimmerEric Zimmer

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