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Stay cool: British Columbians break record for electricity use in May heat

BC Hydro says peak power use still two-thirds less than during coldest day of winter
A portable air conditioner should be ‘energy star’ certified, BC Hydro says. (Black Press Media file photo)

Temperatures have spiked this week and so too has the amount of electricity used for British Columbians to keep cool.

On Monday (May 17), BC Hydro customers broke a May record for peak hourly use of power, the Crown corporation announced Tuesday.

Preliminary analysis found consumption reached nearly 7,600 megawatts as British Columbians turned to air conditioning and fans in an effort to beat the heat.

While the demand for power is expected to remain higher-than-average until temperatures begin to decrease mid-next week, it will only be about two-thirds of what is typically recorded on the coldest days of the year, BC Hydro said.

Amid the heat, the corporation has shared a number of tips to keep cool and be power-conscious:

Closing the drapes and blinds: Shading windows can block out up to 65 per cent of the heat.

ALSO READ: Several heat records broken over weekend as B.C. gripped by heat, fire, flood risk

Shutting doors and windows: If the temperature outside is warmer than inside, keep doors and windows closed to keep the cooler air in and the warm air out.

Using a fan: Running a fan nine hours a day over the summer costs just $7.

Cooling with a heat pump: It is more energy efficient than using multiple portable AC units, and eligible for provincial and federal rebates.

Going ductless: If a central heat pump system is not an option for your home, ductless heat pump units are a great option while offering the same benefits of a central system.

Ensure air conditioners are “energy star” certified: This means they use about 30-to-40 per cent less power than standard units.


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About the Author: Ashley Wadhwani-Smith

I began my journalistic journey at Black Press Media as a community reporter in my hometown of Maple Ridge, B.C.
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