Recent Heat Wave Puts B.c. Close to All-time Power Consumption Record: B.c. Hydro

B.C. Hydro says the recent heat wave has made for near-record demand from its customers.

The electrical utility said peak hourly demand on Monday - a day that highs on the coast above 30 C and in the Interior above 35 C - was 10 per cent higher than at the same time a week ago.

(Peak hourly demand is the hour customers use the most electricity.)

The record peak hourly demand was set last August, when the province as a whole drew more than 7,500 megawatts of electricity.

B.C. Hydro says Monday's peak was a little lower, but they expect the daily peak to remain high over the coming days, between 7,200 and 7,600 megawatts, given the forecast continues to call for hot weather.

The surge in demand is due to customers using their air conditioners and fans more, and refrigeration units needing more power to maintain their cool temperatures.

Recent data from B.C. Hydro shows that one in three customers now have air conditioning, triple the number from 2001. The utility said research has shown as many as one in four British Columbians are considering purchasing an air conditioner this summer.

Some ways to make yourself more energy efficient and to keep your hydro bill down are:

• Close your drapes and blinds, as shading windows can block out up 65 of the heat trying to come in from the outside.

• As the temperature cools in the evening, place fans by your windows or doors to direct cooler air inside.

• If you have a ceiling fan, make sure it is rotating counter-clockwise, which will direct air flows down. B.C. Hydro says ceiling fans are the most efficient way to cool a room.

• Hang-dry your laundry, as the dryer will create extra heat inside your home.

• When cooking, try to avoid using your stove or the oven: switch to your microwave, crockpot or toaster oven, or use the barbeque outdoors.

• When purchasing an air conditioner, B.C. Hydro recommends looking for ENERGY STAR energy-efficient models, which they say use 30 to 40 less power than other units.

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