Info Bulletin

Arrival of cold weather leads to higher electricity demand

As the temperatures drop, BC Hydro is expecting an increase in the overall provincial electricity use.

Electricity demand peaked at 9,102 megawatts, on Monday evening between 5 and 6 p.m. This compares to a peak of only 8,723 megawatts last Monday.

Generally, BC Hydro sees the highest demand for electricity between 4 and 8 p.m. on weekday evenings – the time of day when people come home, turn up the heat, do their laundry, make dinner, switch on the T.V., etc.

BC Hydro expects demand to stay high in the evenings this week as the cold weather persists throughout the province and we're expecting a peak of 9,500 to 10,000 megawatts this week. The highest peak demand on record was observed on Nov. 29, 2006, when consumption reached 10,113 megawatt, between 5 and 6 p.m.

British Columbians can take steps to reduce energy use to offset an increase in heating requirements. Easy ways British Columbians can save on their daily power use include:

  • Washing clothes in cold water
  • Turning off the "heat dry" function on the dishwasher
  • Using a programmable thermostat to heat their house only when they are home

Get more tips on how to lower your winter bill

Learn how to use space and baseboard heaters more efficiently

Bulk of our electricity comes from north, southeast B.C.

Most of the electricity generated and used in B.C. is produced by large facilities in the north and the southeast of the province.

The GM Shrum generating station and the Peace Canyon generating station on the Peace River produce about one-third of the electricity generated in B.C. each year, and the Columbia River facilities – including Revelstoke, Mica and Seven Mile – produce about one-half.

The electricity is distributed to cities and towns using 76,000 kilometres of distribution and transmission lines.