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BC Hydro breaks record for hourly electricity demand in August

Spokesperson says it was just 200 megawatts less than all-time record during 2021 heat dome

B.C.’s ongoing heat wave is setting new records for electricity demand.

BC Hydro set a new record for peak hourly demand Monday night (Aug. 14) as temperatures soared across the province, which had British Columbians turning to air conditioners and fans in an effort to beat the heat.

BC Hydro says a preliminary analysis found consumption reached more than 8,400 megawatts.

A BC Hydro spokesperson said the peak hourly demand Monday was about 200 megawatts less than the all-time summer record set during the heat dome in 2021.

READ MORE: B.C. gearing up for heat wave as majority of province remains in a drought

On average, BC Hydro says heat waves can result in an additional 1,000 megawatts – or more. That’s the equivalent of turning on one million portable air conditioning units.

Electricity demand is expected to remain high until temperatures decrease, which is expected to be around Thursday.

BC Hydro says that despite the increased demand, its “renewable and reliable, hydroelectric system can meet the additional demand.”

READ MORE: BC Hydro has enough power as climate change ramps up cooling demand: CEO

READ MORE: Electricity demand in B.C. expected to increase by 15% by 2030

However, this is still about three-quarters of the winter peak loads. BC Hydro says it records the highest demand for electricity in the winter months, during the coldest and darkest days of the year. Last year during the cold snap, BC Hydro recorded its highest-ever peak hourly demand at 10,900 megawatts between 5 and 6 p.m.

BC Hydro has some tips to help keep homes cool during a heat wave:

• Closing drapes and blinds and 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 – can help keep the cooler air in

• Running a fan nine hours a day over the summer costs $7


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Lauren Collins

About the Author: Lauren Collins

I'm a provincial reporter for Black Press Media's national team, after my journalism career took me across B.C. since I was 19 years old.
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