FortisBC says a new record for daily summer electricity demand was set on Monday.
The power company says the peak load for Monday’s electricity demand was 735 megawatts, which eclipsed the former record of 673 megawatts.
Notably, the former record was set on Sunday. The previous record prior to that was 651 megawatts, set last July.
Fortis spokesperson Nicole Brown said this week’s record-breaking heat is causing the spike in electricity usage, with “air conditioners and people trying to stay safe and stay cool in this extreme temperature.”
How long Monday’s record will last is unknown, with Brown noting that Fortis expects another record-breaking day on Tuesday.
In turn, that led to Fortis saying there have been small power outages this week.
“While the overall system was able to handle to load, crews have responded to small, isolated outages that are occurring when the system within a neighbourhood becomes overloaded from high demand,” Fortis said in a release.
“This is much like tripping a breaker in your house — when the system is overloaded, a fuse will trip and need to be manually reset by crews.”
Keeping cool in a heat wave
As to how much energy 735 megawatts is, Fortis said Monday’s peak demand was nearly three times the capacity of the four hydroelectric generating plants it owns and operates on the Kootenay River.
Those power facilities have a combined capacity of 225 megawatts.
Fortis says it secures power purchase agreements well in advance to make up the difference and meet high demand.
To avoid outages, Fortis said it’s important to be mindful of energy use and to prioritize the appliances you need the most.
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It also encouraged residents to:
- Set air conditioners to 25 C.
- Wait until the evening to use high-energy appliances like ovens, dishwashers and clothes dryers.
- Reduce the use of heat-producing appliances.
- Use a microwave or barbecue instead of a regular oven.
- Hang clothes to dry rather than using the dryer.
Fortis says it’s monitoring the heat wave closely and has crews on standby to respond to outages. Information on outages is available on Fortis’s website.
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