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Increase in electricity load expected with return to entertaining

VANCOUVER: A new BC Hydro report finds British Columbians plan to host more dinners and gatherings this holiday season to make up for time lost to COVID-19 – which could lead to higher residential electricity use.

The report titled, “Hosting the holidays: How a return to entertaining could mean increasing electricity use this holiday season [PDF, 176 KB],” finds with an impressive provincial COVID-19 vaccination rate, 97 per cent of British Columbians plan on getting together with family and friends in person this holiday season, and 44 per cent plan on cooking a big holiday meal, which could mean a rebound in electricity use from last year.

“BC Hydro data shows the overall residential electricity load dropped significantly on Christmas Day and Boxing Day in 2020 – especially between 4 p.m. and 10 p.m.,” said Kevin Aquino, BC Hydro spokesperson. “We feel this can be directly attributed to less gatherings last year with family and friends, which would typically take place in the evening hours on these holidays.”

There was a four per cent decrease in electricity load Christmas evening in 2020 when compared to 2019. The evening load for Boxing Day dropped by about seven per cent. In 2020, most British Columbians did not gather, and 54 per cent did not cook a big holiday meal at home.

This holiday season, 37 per cent of British Columbians said they will be hosting more gatherings and 43 per cent will be attending more. When it comes to decorating, hosting seems to lead to the need to impress – 14 per cent said they will be decorating more outdoors, and 22 per cent will be decorating more indoors. Electronic lights and decorations will likely result in a load increase over the holidays.

BC Hydro recommends the following tips for a lower-cost and lower carbon holiday season, and beyond:

  • Use star power: appliances can account for up to 20 per cent of a household’s electricity use. Using ENERGY STAR certified appliances can help customers save on their holiday energy bills. Look for ENERGY STAR appliances when taking advantage of Boxing Week deals.
  • Switch to LEDs: save about $40 over the holiday season by switching eight strands of incandescent lights to energy efficient LEDs. LED holiday lights last ten times longer and come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colours.
  • Give the gift of two-in-one heating and cooling: replacing a gas furnace with a heat pump to cool in the summer and heat in the winter, could reduce a typical home’s greenhouse gas emissions by up to two tonnes per year.
  • Use MyHydro: see how cooking and decorating impact electricity use by using the electricity tracking tools available on MyHydro at

For more holiday energy-saving tips, and eco-friendly ideas visit

BC Hydro Media Relations
p. 604 928 6468

[1] Online survey conducted by Majid Khoury of 800 British Columbians from Nov 19-21, 2021 margin of error is 3.46%.