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Operational update

Record-breaking temperatures drive electricity demand to an all-time May high

VANCOUVER: BC Hydro set a new record for the highest May peak hourly demand – the hour customers use the most electricity – on Monday night when temperatures soared across much of the province.

Last night, preliminary analysis found consumption reached nearly 7,600 megawatts as British Columbians turned to air conditioning and fans in an effort to beat the heat.

With temperatures decreasing, BC Hydro does not expect the latest record to fall in the coming days. However, demand for power is expected to remain higher-than-average this week and BC Hydro’s reliable hydroelectric system can meet the additional demand.

For more information on how to stay cool and save money in the heat, visit

Heat wave to drive demand for electricity, record for May could fall

May 12, 2023

VANCOUVER: Unseasonably high temperatures expected in the coming days could significantly increase electricity demand and break May records.

The forecast is calling for record-breaking temperatures in many parts of the province, and demand for power is also expected to steadily increase with the temperature as British Columbians turn to air conditioning and fans to keep cool. Peak hourly demand – the hour customers use the most power – is predicted to be the highest on Monday and could break the May record.

While the demand for power is expected to remain higher-than-average until temperatures begin to decrease mid-next week, BC Hydro wants to assure its customers that its renewable and reliable, hydroelectric system can meet the additional demand. While the demand on the electricity system will be higher, it will only be about two-thirds of what is typically recorded on the coldest days of the year.

BC Hydro is also taking important steps to protect the safety of its customers and employees, including cancelling planned outages where possible to ensure customers have access to the electricity they need to keep cool.

BC Hydro encourages customers looking for ways to keep cool and save money during the heat wave to consider:

  • Closing the drapes and blinds: Shading windows can block out up to 65 per cent of the heat.
  • Shutting doors and windows: If the temperature outside is warmer than inside, keep doors and windows closed to keep the cooler air in and the warm air out.
  • Using a fan: Running a fan nine hours a day over the summer costs just $7.
  • Cooling with a heat pump: Because BC Hydro generates 98 per cent of its electricity from clean, renewable resources that are mostly powered by water, using a heat pump to cool in the summer and heat in the winter is more environmentally friendly than a system powered by gas. It is also more energy efficient than using multiple portable AC units. BC Hydro offers up to $3,000 in rebates for switching from a fossil fuel based system, which can be combined with provincial and federal rebates for a total savings of up to $11,000 on cost and installation with some municipalities adding additional rebates on top of that.
  • Going ductless: If a central heat pump system is not an option for your home, ductless heat pump units are a great option while offering the same benefits of a central system.
  • Choosing ENERGY STAR: If you are buying an air conditioner, opt for a window AC unit as opposed to portable units, as they are twice as energy efficient – especially if they are ENERGY STAR certified. ENERGY STAR models use about 30 to 40 per cent less power than standard units.

More information can be found at

BC Hydro Media Relations
p. 604 928 6468