Sub-zero temperatures result in record-breaking electricity demand

BC Hydro set a record for the highest February peak hourly demand when electricity usage soared to more than 10,000 megawatts Monday night.

The previous February record for peak hourly demand of 9,795 megawatts set on Feb. 8, 2017 has been broken twice in the recent cold snap. The first time was on Sunday night when peak hourly demand reached 9,848 megawatts. That is a 22 per cent increase over the same day two weeks ago - before temperatures plummeted.

The new February record set on Monday evening of 10,050 megawatts is just shy of the all-time record of 10,194 megawatts set on Jan. 3, 2017.

Since the cold snap began on February 3, there has been a surge in electricity use - about 13 per cent higher on average. Electricity use is the highest between 4 and 8 p.m. on weekday evenings when British Columbians come home from work, turn up the heat, switch on the lights, do laundry and make dinner.

Heating costs can rise up to 140 per cent in the winter months, which leads to higher electricity bills.

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