Operational Update

BC Hydro prepares for heat wave during drought

BC Hydro is preparing for increased power demand this long weekend as Environment Canada is predicting high temperatures for much of B.C. With drought conditions in the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island, most of the power BC Hydro generates will come from its biggest facilities in the Peace and Columbia regions.

"Typically, during a heat wave, we see a spike in our peak electricity demand as people turn on fans and air conditioners to stay cool and refrigeration units work harder," said Mark Poweska, senior vice-president, Generation, BC Hydro. "Even with the dry conditions affecting our major population centres, we have enough power to meet demand thanks to our large generating stations in the north and the southeast."

More than 95 per cent of the power generated by BC Hydro is clean hydroelectricity – water is held behind dams in reservoirs (big lakes), and passed through turbines to create power.

"BC Hydro has hydroelectric facilities in three distinct climactic zones. This means that dry conditions in one area, like the Lower Mainland, can be offset by a facility in a region where the snowpack levels are different, like the Peace region. And, we have an integrated transmission system that gets power from the north, all the way to Vancouver Island," added Poweska.

BC Hydro operates 31 hydroelectric facilities, of which 12 are on the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island. BC Hydro has ceased or has greatly limited electricity production at all Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island facilities because of low water levels.

Although there is a significant increase in the provincial electricity load during a heat wave, BC Hydro records the highest demand of the year during the winter months on the coldest, darkest day of the year.

For more information please contact:
BC Hydro Media Relations
p. 604 928 6468