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FortisBC customers set power use record

The company that provides power to much of the West Kootenay/Boundary says the cold snap is reflected in our power use.

FortisBC says customers set a new electric system record on Monday at 790 megawatts, 13 MW above the previous winter peak of 777 MW set on Dec. 27, 2021, during another frigid period.

While the company doesn’t have confirmed gas numbers yet, they expect them to be similar to last year. On Dec. 27, 2021 FortisBC’s gas system moved 46 per cent more gas than on a typical December day.

“The recent cold snap and snowy conditions serve as a good reminder for customers to be aware of their energy use to reduce higher than average monthly bills,” spokeswoman Holly Harrison wrote in an email.

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“For most British Columbians, space heating accounts for over 60 per cent of the total household energy use. This typically increases in winter months when outdoor temperatures drop and furnaces, baseboard heating and other heating equipment is used more frequently.”

Harrison said there are ways you can conserve energy while remaining comfortable, by identifying areas of your home that contribute to heat loss and take steps to improve energy efficiency, even on the coldest days. These include:

  • Reduce air leaks and drafts by using caulking and weatherstripping to seal gaps and cracks.
  • Close doors and vents, or turn down the thermostat for baseboard heaters in unoccupied rooms.
  • Use a programmable or connected thermostat to reduce energy use when not at home.
  • Consider upgrading to high-efficiency models when it comes time to replace equipment.
  • Have appliances serviced regularly to keep them operating safely and efficiently

BC Hydro, which serves the upper Slocan Valley, Arrow Lakes, and Lardeau Valley says it also set a record on Monday for peak hourly electricity demand.

On Monday, preliminary analysis found consumption between 5 and 6 p.m. reached over 10,800 megawatts. The previous record was set on Dec. 27, 2021 when consumption reached 10,762 megawatts.

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