5 ways to stay safe, cut your business' electricity use this winter

Time to be Winterwise illustration

Prepare for winter with these Power Smart tips

During the winter when it's cold and dark, it's common to use more electricity, which can lead to higher bills. If your business has a retail or customer-facing space, you'll likely use more heating and have increased lighting needs.

Use these Power Smart tips to help improve your energy efficiency and save money. They'll also help you stay safe if a power outage strikes.

Be prepared, just in case

Print a copy of our outage preparedness planning guide [PDF, 86 KB] so you know what to do before, during and after a power outage. Use it to help create a customized outage preparedness plan for your business, and keep it with your emergency supplies.

Report and monitor power outages at your business address

You can use a mobile device to quickly check the status of an unexpected power outage. Visiting's outages pages on your smartphone or tablet can show you whether BC Hydro is already aware of the outage, how many customers are affected, and will provide an estimated time for the power to be restored.

Knowing the location of a power outage, and how long it may last, is important for your safety and the safety of your staff and patrons. It's also essential for the protection of business assets, especially valuable and expensive electronic equipment and systems, as well as frozen and refrigerated food.

Regardless of whether you experience a maintenance outage or an unexpected outage caused by extreme weather, rely on our outages updates to get all available information BC Hydro has about known outage(s) at your business address.

With access to information like the size of the outage area and the approximate time in which your power will be restored, you can make informed decisions about staffing levels (should I send everyone home?) and staff safety if they do go home (is it safe for my staff to walk or drive in the area?). Hotel, restaurant and retail store owners can also proactively communicate outage-related information to patrons inside their establishments.

Keep drafts at bay

Gaps and cracks around windows and doors allow the cold winter air to come in, and warm air to escape. This not only makes your work environment less comfortable, but also contributes to a higher electricity bill.

For businesses with customer-facing spaces, drafts can make your space uninviting and reduce the time that customers spend with you. Draftproofing is one of the most cost-effective things you can do to improve your business' overall efficiency. Caulking and weatherstripping materials are relatively inexpensive and fairly simple to apply.

Start by identifying the areas where gaps and cracks are present by running your hand over windowsills, doors and walls to feel for cold drafts. Make sure to remove old, damaged caulking or weatherstripping before applying new material. Some places where draftproofing is effective include:

  • Around window and door frames
  • Where walls meet the foundation
  • Around openings where piping, electrical and telephone lines enter the building
  • Unused openings in the walls or roof

Brighten up the winter with energy-efficient lighting

Making the switch to energy-efficient LEDs or CFLs is a great way to save on your electricity costs associated with lighting. If you‘re looking to light your business with holiday lights this season, consider purchasing holiday LED lights. They last up to 10 times longer than conventional bulbs.

Learn more about holiday LEDS and the new lights available this year

Use tracking tools to stay on top of your electricity use

The energy tracking tools available in your MyHydro account can help you stay on top of your electricity use and identify areas to save, before you get your next bill.

Check back regularly and look for high points of electricity use. By identifying these high points, you can put Power Smart tips into action to reduce your bill. Then track your progress and see how your electricity use changes over time.