Icicles on a building are a sign of heat loss. (Grand Forks Gazette/Jensen Edwards)

Electricity, natural gas use spiked during cold snap: FortisBC

FortisBC said that natural gas use was 50 per cent higher on Jan. 14, compared to week prior

Icicles grew long off the roofs of many Boundary buildings last week, as residents countered the exceptionally cold weather outside with boosted thermostats.

Natural gas and electricity supplier FortisBC said in a release that across the Southern Interior, electricity use jumped by more than a third on Tuesday, Jan. 14, as compared with the Tuesday prior. On Jan. 14, the recorded low in Grand Forks hit -12 C without windchill. The week before, Grand Forks had a low of 0 C.

FortisBC also said that natural gas use by its customers was 50 per cent higher on Jan. 14, as compared with the Tuesday prior.

According to the utility company, demand for natural gas in the winter has historically been triple that of the summer months, while electricity use surges by approximately 80 per cent.

Heating generally accounts for the most energy use in a home and typically spikes during periods of cold weather as furnaces, baseboard heating and heat pumps cycle more frequently to maintain consistent and comfortable temperatures inside homes. With heating appliances running more often, more energy is used.

Heat loss means money loss as well, and is visible with each drip frozen to the end of an icicle. Draft-proofing and sealing leaks, usually around windows and doors, as well as turning down the heat in unused rooms, have the most potential to save on space heating, FortisBC said.

Customers curious about their energy usage during cold weather can use tools available to them online through their FortisBC accounts.

energy sector

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