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Report: Obsession with personal electronics is changing how British Columbians use power at home

VANCOUVER – A new BC Hydro report finds British Columbians' addiction to personal electronics has resulted in a 150 per cent increase in electricity use from small electronics since 1990.

"Over the past decade, there has been a dramatic shift in how people use power in their homes. The popularity of small personal electronics – like smartphones, laptops and tablets – is driving this trend," said Chris O'Riley, BC Hydro's President and Chief Operating Officer. "While none of these devices use a lot a power individually, taken together, household electricity use from these devices has increased from 7 percent to 17 per cent since the early 1990s."

The report titled "Constantly Connected: B.C.'s obsession with personal electronics and how it's shifting household electricity use" found more than three-quarters of British Columbians own a smartphone and spend, on average, 4.7 hours a day on their device. In addition, the number of tablets in B.C. households has increased by more than 200 per cent since 2010.

A recent survey commissioned by BC Hydro shows just how addicted British Columbians are to their smartphones and tablets:

  • Nearly one-third of British Columbians between the ages of 18 and 24 would give up heating in their home on a cold winter day before giving up their smartphone.
  • Over a quarter of British Columbians aged 25 to 54 would rather give up seeing their spouse or partner for a day than give up their smartphone or tablet for 24 hours. This jumps to one-third for those aged 55 to 64.
  • Two-thirds of British Columbians would be willing to forgo their morning coffee for two days than their smartphone or tablet for the same timeframe.
  • One-fifth of British Columbians admit to sleeping with their smartphone in bed – and 70 per cent of those aged 18 to 24 at least occasionally sleep with their device.
  • Over a quarter of British Columbians between the ages 18 and 34 would rather give up their salary for a day than their smartphone for 24 hours.

With British Columbians already spending so much time on their phones, tablets and laptops, smart home products present a new way to pair devices and manage household electricity use from one place. Nearly 50 per cent of those surveyed said they are interested in purchasing a smart home product within the next year and of those that have purchased one, said they were motivated by the potential to reduce home energy costs.

To help British Columbians reduce their household electricity use, BC Hydro is offering rebates and deals on select energy-efficient electronics, appliances and smart products between Oct.1 and Nov. 11, 2018. Full details and lists of eligible products can be found at

Download the report:

BC Hydro Media Relations
604 928 6468