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We're sleeping in and adjusting our days: BC Hydro report

Image showing electricity use graph during COVID-19 pandemic
This hourly MyHydro consumption graph of a BC Hydro customer compares three days in 2020 against the same three days a year earlier, and shows a dramatic increase in morning and daytime use, and a dramatic drop in evening use. It also suggests that devices, and potentially electric heat, are being left on overnight.

When every day is like Saturday, how do we change how we use energy?

A new BC Hydro report that shows nearly 40% of British Columbians are now working from home five days a week and about the same number are sleeping in later than usual. That delay has shifted B.C.'s morning power spike to later in the morning.

What does that mean for you, other than the fact that there's a good chance you're getting more sleep than usual? It could mean that a closer look at how you use electricity, and some easy changes, could pay off in lower BC Hydro bills.

To get a sense of how much things have changed, log in to MyHydro and customize your consumption graph to compare a few days this spring with the same days last spring. If you select three days or fewer, you can get hourly data, which can give you an idea of whether your usage patterns have changed.

Learn more about how to track your electricity use

BC Hydro report shows daytime TV watching is up

The new report, titled Powering the new normal: How COVID-19 has changed British Columbians' daily habits and electricity use [PDF, 349 KB], discovered that while overall residential energy use is at normal levels for this time of year, our usage patterns during the week are now more like weekends. Findings in the report include:

  • Nearly 45% are eating their breakfast later
  • 24% are showering less often, and for shorter periods of time
  • About 60% are watching more TV or streaming than they were pre-pandemic
  • 50% are cooking more, and 40% are baking more
  • 30% are going to bed later
  • Of the 40% who are sleeping in later, 60% are sleeping in at least an hour later.

How can you save electricity? A few ideas

In the heat of summer, it's important to open and close windows and blinds based on the difference between temperatures outside and in. The rule of thumb is to leave windows open only when it's cooler outside than in – usually in the evening through early morning. And that means that if you're sleeping late, you may be missing out on reclosing windows and drawing blinds when the sun begins to hit.

BC Hydro also recommends:

  • Using a laptop instead of a desktop, which uses 80% less electricity.
  • Cooking with smaller appliances, such as multi-use pressure cookers, microwaves and toaster ovens that use up to 75% less energy than a large electric oven.
  • Streaming movies or TV shows on a device such as a smart TV instead of a game console, as it uses 40% less electricity.
  • Tracking electricity use with MyHydro to see how at-home activities impact a household's electricity use.