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Electricity use broke records during Monday's cold snap, BC Hydro says
Published Tuesday, January 14, 2020 5:15PM PST
A man adjusts his thermostat in this undated CTV News file image.
VANCOUVER -- The cold snap that prompted weather warnings across B.C. this week also led to record-breaking electricity usage.
BC Hydro said hourly electricity consumption peaked at 10,302 megawatts on Monday, breaking the previous record of 10,194 megawatts that was set in January 2017.
Monday's peak hourly consumption also represented a 16 per cent increase over the previous week's.
And the cold snap isn't over. Temperatures in parts of the Lower Mainland are expected to stay below freezing for days, and BC Hydro expects electricity usage will remain high as people keep cranking their thermostats.
"Residential electricity can increase, on average, by 88 per cent in the colder, darker, winter months," the Crown corporation said in a bulletin Tuesday. "This can lead to higher heating costs for customers."
To reduce consumption – and keep electricity bills down – BC Hydro recommends people keep their thermostats at 16 C while sleeping or away from home, 18 C while doing chores or cleaning, and 21 C while lounging around the house.
The utility provider also cautioned against overcorrecting. BC Hydro said dialing the thermostat way up won't warm your home faster than dialling it up gradually by a degree or two at a time.