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Heat wave sets new record for peak hourly demand: BC Hydro

Utility set for increased demand as mercury forecast to rise
BC Hydro says its prepared for an increased demand amid the heat wave sweeping the province. (Caitlin Clow - Vernon Morning Star)

More people than ever plugged in to cool down Saturday (June 26) breaking BC Hydro’s record for the highest summer peak hourly demand.

Preliminary analysis show BC Hydro customers used 7,972 megawatts, surpassing the 7,897-megawatt record set Aug. 18, 2020.

Saturday’s record is even more unique because of the day of week, the utility said. Typically, they see highest demand on weekdays when customers follow a “routine” schedule.

As mercury continues to climb, the utility said it expects to see higher demand and is predicting Monday could reach up to 8,300 megawatts, shattering last night’s record.

BC Hydro said customers need not worry as its hydroelectric system can meet the increased demand.

Important steps have also been taken to protect the safety of its employees and customers amid the heat wave, including cancelling major planned outages as well as suspending disconnections for non-payment.

Other ways to stay cool, and save money, include:

• closing the blinds: shading windows can block up to 65 per cent of the heat

• shutting doors and windows to keep the cool air in and the warm air out

• use a fan: running a fan nine hours a day costs just $7

• purchase an Energy Star air conditioner as they use 30-40 per cent less power than standard units

• opt for smaller appliances: skip the stove and use a microwave, toaster, crockpot, etc., to avoid extra heat while preparing meals

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