Cold snaps drain power

No records set for provincewide power use during cold snap

  • Dec. 9, 2014 9:00 a.m.

Maple Ridge and the Lower Mainland is back to the usual warmer Pacific winter, but earlier this month residents received a taste of what the rest of the country faces three months a year.

When the temperature drops, the use of power rises.

B.C. Hydro warned last week week that it expected power use to peak on the Monday night throughout the province, hitting a top demand of 10,100 megawatts.

As result, Hydro sent out a request asking people to cut back during the peak times of the early evening by washing clothes in cold water and turning off the “heat dry” feature in dishwashers.

They also suggest using a programmable thermostat so that heat comes on only when needed and when residents are home.

However, instead of demand exceeding 10,000 megawatts, total power consumption for the province between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m., held fast at 9,600 megawatts, said Mora Scott, Hydro spokesperson.

Still that was 1,000 more megawatts than the same time a week prior.

“Primarily, it has to do with the colder weather,” Scott said.

The chilly temperatures also coincided with some of the longest nights of the year as the Dec. 21 winter solstice approaches.

Scott said 1,000 megawatts is the equivalent to the power produced by 10 Ruskin Dams.

The highest hourly peak demand ever was recorded on Nov. 29, 2006, when consumption reached 10,113 megawatts between 5 and 6 p.m.

The two new generating units installed at the Mica Generating Station will provide an additional 1,000 megawatts of capacity to the system.