22 B.C. heat records broken Sunday as BC Hydro demand spikes by 20%

BC Hydro says demand increased across the province as people tried to stay cool during an early July heat warning. Monika Gul reports

There were 22 places around B.C. that saw daily heat records tumble on Sunday as much of the province swelters through a heatwave.

The hottest place in B.C. on July 7 was Ashcroft, which recorded a high of 40.3 degrees. It smashed its previous record of 36.9 which was recorded in 2015.

In the Lower Mainland, Langley saw a new record of 33.3, seeing its previous record of 32.6 in 2010 tumble.

Gibsons saw a new record of 30.2, inching past its previous record of 30 set in 2010. Kamloops and Kelowna both smashed their heat records, seeing temperatures of 38.3 and 36.5, respectively.

Meanwhile, Whistler, Pemberton, and Lillooet all broke their respective records, recording temperatures of 33.2, 38, and 38.8, respectively.

The broken records come as the southern B.C. heatwave is set to peak on Tuesday or Wednesday.

“More records will be set [Monday] with records for the Lower Mainland more likely Tuesday, not because it’ll be hotter, but July 10th has been historically cooler than July 7th and 8th,” CityNews Meteorologist Michael Kuss explained.

Environment and Climate Change Canada renewed its Heat Warning for Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley Monday morning. It comes after the weather service initially issued the warning on Saturday.

“A strong ridge of high pressure over the region has ushered in very high temperatures. Daytime highs will be in the low to mid-30s inland and in the upper twenties along the coast,” the ECCC said in its warning.

Electricity demand up by 20%: BC Hydro

Meanwhile, BC Hydro says its hourly demand on Sunday increased by about 20 per cent compared to the same time last week.

“The increase is driven by British Columbians trying to keep cool – more people cranking up the AC and turning on fans,” spokesperson Mora Scott told CityNews Monday.

While demand is expected to remain “higher-than-average” until the temperature cools down, Scott is reassuring Hydro customers that “we have enough power to meet the demand.”

“We are a winter peaking utility and we see the highest demand for power on the coldest and darkest days of the year. During the hottest days of the summer, demand is only three-quarters of what we see in the winter,” she added.

Another spokesperson, Kevin Aquino, says demand is highest on weekdays after business hours, when people return home from work, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

“They turn on their laundry, they start cooking dinner, and they have their natural routine that’s set in place. Over the weekend, demand does fluctuate, as folks do tend to go out,” said Aquino.

He says BC Hydro is expecting demand to reach approximately anywhere between 7,000 and 8,000 megawatts. He says, at its highest summer peak the demand has reached 8,000 megawatts.

“Over the next few days, we may hit a record,” said Aquino.

With files from Sonia Aslam

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