Cold snap pushes spike in energy demand in British Columbia

Posted Jan 5, 2017 by Karen Graham
On Tuesday this week an 11-year-old record for electricity usage was broken in British Columbia, Canada. With temperatures remaining low and more snow forecast for the weekend, there has been an unprecedented demand for power by BC Hydro customers.
The Dawson Creek Mirror is reporting that according to a BC Hydro news release, the province's electricity demand peaked at 10,126 megawatts on the evening of Jan. 3, breaking the previous high of 10,113 set in 2006.
Power consumption usually peaks in the evening hours during the winter, when people return home from work and heat their homes and use energy-intensive appliances. Residential energy consumption goes up 88 percent, according to BC Hydro.
Environmental Canada is reporting the sub-zero temperatures are expected to ease in the coming days, but snow is in the forecast through the weekend and there will be the added risk of power outages. BC Hydro is saying they expect peak hourly demand loads of between 9,800 and 10,200 megawatts through the rest of the week, reports Metro News.
Current map for snowfall in BC.
Current map for snowfall in BC.
With snow in the forecast, Ted Olynyk, BC Hydro's Vancouver Island community relations manager, also wants people to be prepared for power outages, according to CBC News. Olynyk reminds customers that when the power does go out, to turn off all unnecessary electrical equipment and appliances.
"Because what happens when the power is restored, then we have this issue called cold-low pick-up. The system has to go back and meet the previous demand and then it trips out." Olynyk says people need to wait about 20 minutes after the power is restored for the electrical system to stabilize.