Operational update

Heat wave increases electricity demand provincewide

VANCOUVER – BC Hydro expects provincewide electricity demand to reach record breaking highs for summer peak hourly demand on Friday evening. Increasing temperatures have resulted in a significant increase in overall electricity use.

On Thursday, BC Hydro recorded the highest peak hourly demand – the hour customers use the most electricity – of the summer at 7,320 megawatts. BC Hydro is anticipating Friday's peak hourly load to be even higher at 7,580 megawatts – breaking the previous summer record set on Aug. 11, 2014 of 7,468 megawatts.

Typically, during a heat wave, BC Hydro sees a spike in peak electricity demand as customers turn on fans and air conditioners to stay cool and refrigeration units work harder.

Although there is a significant increase in provincial electricity load during a sustained heat wave, BC Hydro still records the highest demand in the winter. The highest hourly peak demand ever was recorded on Nov. 29, 2006, when consumption reached 10,113 megawatts between 5 and 6 p.m. This is in contrast to utilities in California and Ontario, where the highest peaks are experienced in the summer months due to the widespread use of air conditioning.

There are a number of ways British Columbians can save money during the heat wave.

  • Keep the blinds down: shade windows and block up to 65 per cent of the heat.
  • Use a ceiling fan: ceiling fans are the most efficient option for cooling. Ensure the fan is rotating counter-clockwise.
  • Keep the clothes dryer off: hang laundry to dry to keep unnecessary heat out of your house.
  • Cook outside: use the barbeque to reduce the use of your stove or oven.

BC Hydro Media Relations
p. 604 928 6468