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News release

Solstice smart: Double your reward during darker days

VANCOUVER: As the days get shorter and colder, lighting and heating consumption goes up. To reduce winter bills, BC Hydro is reminding customers there are many ways to conserve their electricity use and save money this winter, including signing up for its Team Power Smart Reduction Challenge for double the reward.

Winter solstice happens in B.C. on December 21 when we are tilted the farthest away from the sun. It marks the shortest day of the year, and not only the beginning of winter, but the time of year during which most British Columbians start relying more on lighting and heating, which can lead to higher energy use and bills.

“We see our biggest demand for power in the colder, darker months, and heating can account for up to 50 per cent of a BC Hydro bill in the winter,” said Susie Rieder, BC Hydro spokesperson. “Last December during an extreme cold snap, the peak hourly electricity demand record – the hour when customers use the most electricity – was exceeded twice in one week. On Dec. 21, 2022, we saw the highest ever recorded as British Columbians turned up their thermostats to keep warm.”

Despite the demand for electricity increasing in the winter months, BC Hydro continues to meet British Columbians’ electricity needs through its large, integrated and regionally connected hydroelectric system. BC Hydro’s system is designed and operated to perform safely and reliably across a wide range of conditions and weather events, from heavy rainfall to drought.

2023 was a year of record drought in B.C., leading to historically low water levels at many of BC Hydro’s reservoirs. And, while recent rainfall events have refilled many of BC Hydro’s smaller hydroelectric facilities in the Lower Mainland and on Vancouver Island, its larger reservoirs in the north and southeast of the province are still below normal levels. In response to these conditions, the team has been planning in real-time for over a year to actively manage the system, including importing more power – a common activity during low water years.

BC Hydro is reminding customers there are many ways to save energy and money this winter including:

  • Joining the team: With the onset of colder weather, BC Hydro is increasing its Team Power Smart Reduction Challenge reward for a limited time from $50 to $100 for customers who successfully reduce their electricity use by 10 per cent over the course of a year.
  • Monitoring heating: Heating is the biggest use of energy in B.C. homes during the fall and winter months. Heating costs rise about five per cent for every degree above 20 degrees Celsius. Keeping the temperature at 16 degrees when away from the home and sleeping, 18 degrees when doing housework and 21 degrees when relaxing can help avoid wasted heat (and higher costs) .
  • Draftproofing to reduce heat loss: Use caulking and weather stripping to seal gaps and cracks around doors, windows and outlets at home to prevent heat from leaking out and cold air from coming in.
  • Heating in zones: Only turn on baseboard heaters in rooms that are occupied. Close doors to bedrooms and offices when baseboard heaters are turned on to keep the heat in.
  • Leaving incandescent bulbs: LED bulbs use at least 75 per cent less energy than incandescent lighting and can last up to 25 times longer. One LED bulb will translate into $100 in energy savings over its lifespan.
  • Using timers: Reduce electricity costs by only having lights on when needed. This can be especially helpful for holiday lighting.

For more information on how to save this winter, visit and join a Team Power Smart Reduction Challenge by signing up today at

BC Hydro Media Relations
p. 604 928 6468