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Report: BC Hydro data links holiday hosting to increased electricity use

VANCOUVER: A new BC Hydro report finds British Columbians’ knack for hosting guests on Christmas Day contributes to a 15 per cent increase in the electricity used in B.C. homes, leading to post-holiday costs for many.

The report titled 'Hosts use the most: British Columbians cooking up higher holiday electricity bills” finds British Columbians' [PDF, 81 KB] hosting habits, especially cooking, leads to an increase in electricity usage that begins the week before Christmas. BC Hydro data shows in 2018, British Columbians used approximately 8,000 megawatt hours more electricity – the equivalent to cooking 1.5 million turkeys – by mid-day on Christmas Day compared to the same day the previous week.

British Columbians spending more time in the kitchen cooking and baking in preparation for holiday guests is likely the contributing factor to this higher usage. A survey[1] commissioned by BC Hydro found nearly 95 per cent of British Columbians are planning to prepare meals from scratch at home for family and friends this holiday season, rather than purchasing pre-made meals or take-out. In addition, over 60 per cent plan to bake holiday treats at home rather than buying them from a grocery store or bakery.

The survey also found a quarter of British Columbians plan to have family and friends stay at their home over the holidays, and of those, nearly 20 per cent are concerned their guests will use too much electricity during their stay. However, houseguests may be more energy-efficient than their hosts may think. The survey found 80 per cent of those that plan to stay with friends and family this holiday season are conscious of their electricity usage and will be taking steps to limit their usage, by switching off lights and turning down the heat.

To improve energy efficiency during holiday season, BC Hydro recommends:

  • Cooking for conservation: use smaller appliances whenever possible, such as a microwave, crockpot or toaster oven for cooking as they use less than half the electricity of a regular oven.
  • Baking smart: bake cookies, cakes and pies in batches to save energy – and avoid opening the oven door to peek as this wastes energy and lowers the cooking temperature.
  • Entertaining efficiently: turn down the thermostat when guests settle in to about 18 degrees Celsius.
  • Tracking your usage: see how holiday activities impact a household’s electricity use with the electricity tracking tools available in MyHydro.

For more information on how to save energy and money, visit

[1] Online survey conducted by Majid Khoury of 800 British Columbians between September 27 and October 1, 2019.