Power use over cold snap nearly breaks B.C.’s five year record

Electricity users came within a hair’s breadth of breaking the all-time power usage last week during the peak hours of five and six p.m.

Apryl Veld

Omineca Express

Electricity users came within a hair’s breadth of breaking the all-time power usage last week during the peak hours of five and six p.m.

“We used only 0.005 less than the record peak amount for the province, set in 2006,” said BC Hydro spokesperson, Bob Gammer.

Power use is especially high around dinner because that’s when we ramp up our use. Residents can also  take it down a notch and he suggests a whole raft of ways for doing that including to not use a bunch of major appliances all at once, because when we all do, it causes a big drain.

“It’s a lot better if people can use them one at a time,” the Prince George power guy said.

Major dollar savings can come by turning down the heat at bedtime, and when you leave the house, he suggested.

“Turning down the heat two degrees can save you five per cent on your bill, and turning it down five degrees will save 10 per cent,” he said.

Gammer also recommends installing programmable thermostats for easy comfort, because you can program the heat to come on before you get up, or before you leave work, so your home is warm before your feet even hit the floor.

He suggests people insulate and winterize to lower home heating costs. Some improvements don’t cost a lot, like easy-to-install window film. Weather stripping or caulking around doors or windows is also a quick fix for stopping drafts.

Another way to cut your power bill is to keep blinds and drapes closed, even during the day, Gammer suggested, “which can be like adding an extra layer of window.”

Gammer said we aren’t likely going to see power black outs that cities in eastern parts of Canada experienced a few years ago when residents of Toronto and nearby cities were using air conditioning day and night. We likely won’t see those kinds of break downs because our system is designed to handle some extremes, he explained.

“If we were at serious risk,” Gammer said, “BC Hydro would communicate with industry and the community about curtailing usage.”