BC Hydro demand expected to be record-breaking during peak heat

As high-temperature records fall across the province, BC Hydro is expecting some of its own records to fall Monday as the quest to keep cool pushes up demand on the province’s power grid.

“With the increasingly hot temperatures, we are expecting to see a significant increase in the amount of electricity people are using, and this is really being driven by British Columbians trying to keep cool,” said the utility’s spokesperson Mora Scott.

As people crank up fans and air conditioners, BC Hydro predicts the peak usage Monday will hit 7,800 megawatts, well over its previous May record of 7,500 megawatts.

“Typically for this time of year, we see demand much, much lower, and it’s not typically driven by extremely hot temperatures.”

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Scott is offering tips we would usually hear in a high summer heat wave, explaining one the simplest ways to keep a home cool is to close up the house before the heat of the day.

“That keeps about 65 per cent of the heat out. Also, keep windows and doors open when the temperature is cooler on the outside than it is on the inside. Once that changes to hotter temperatures outside, make sure you shut those windows and doors to keep the cool air in,” she explained to CityNews.

“And using fans is also a great option. Using a fan for nine hours a day over the course of the summer will only cost you about seven dollars.”

BC Hydro has also cancelled all planned maintenance outages Sunday and Monday, so anyone who needs electricity to keep cool will have it available.

“We’re also encouraging our employees who spend a great deal of time outdoors to take more frequent breaks. Obviously, their health and safety is our top priority.”

As predicted, the heat is also ramping up the snowmelt across the province.

While no major flooding is predicted, the BC River Forecast Centre says that will swell rivers again in the coming days, warning of high streamflows and rapidly changing conditions.

High streamflow advisories have been issued for the Dean River, the Bella Coola River, the Upper Columbia, West Kootenay, East Kootenay, and Boundary regions, including the Kettle River, and the Granby River and its tributaries.

-With files from OMNI News

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