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Update: Demand for electricity reaches new high for 2016 as freezing temperatures continue

With sustained cold temperatures provincewide, BC Hydro saw electricity demand peak at 9,869 megawatts between 5 and 6 p.m. on Thursday. This is a new record for the year.

Electricity demand increased by 18 per cent. That’s nearly 1,500 megawatts higher than last Thursday’s peak demand of 8,393 megawatts. The record set in November 2006 of 10,113 megawatts remains in place.

BC Hydro expects demand will remain higher than normal as the cold weather continues.

Energy demand comparison:

Date Increase over last week
Tuesday, December 6 12 per cent
Wednesday, December 7 15 per cent
Thursday, December 8 18 per cent

BC Hydro Media Relations
p. 604 928 6468


Dec. 7, 2016

Decreasing temperatures lead to increasing demand for power

VANCOUVER – The first wave of cold arctic air and snow has increased electricity demand by 12 per cent provincewide.

On Tuesday, electricity demand peaked at 9,345 megawatts between 5 and 6 p.m. This was 1,000 megawatts higher than the peak demand on Tuesday the week before.

BC Hydro records the highest demand for electricity in the winter months between 4 and 8 p.m. on weekday evenings. This is when British Columbians come home, turn up the heat, switch on the lights, do laundry and make dinner.

Demand for electricity is expected to remain high as the cold snap continues. BC Hydro is preparing for peak loads between 9,400 and 10,000 megawatts this week. The highest peak hourly demand was recorded on Nov. 29, 2006 when consumption reached 10,113 megawatts between 5 and 6 p.m.

Residential energy consumption can increase, on average, by 88 per cent in the colder, darker months. BC Hydro is reminding customers there are simple ways to stay warm and save power during the winter.

  • Install a programmable thermostat to schedule specific times to heat a home.
  • Put on a sweater instead of turning up the temperature.
  • Unplug unused electronics and use an advanced power bar to manage standby power.
  • Wash laundry in cold water.