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Barbara Walton took this picture in Lake Cowichan this morning, one of the areas that saw some of the greatest amounts of snow on the island. Dec. 5, 2016. (Courtesy Barbara Walton)

A winter storm that swept through most of British Columbia Monday has led to record-breaking electricity use, according to BC Hydro.

On Jan. 13, a whopping 10,302 megawatts of electricity was used, surpassing the previous record of 10,194 megawatts used on Jan. 3, 2017.

The added electricity was likely used for heating during a province-wide dumping of snowfall. BC Hydro predicts that with continued sub-zero temperatures forecasted – and centimetres of snow expected to fall across B.C. – that electricity demand will remain high throughout the week. 

On Tuesday, the energy provider issued an advisory to residents of Haida Gwaii, warning of possible power outages if electricity use was not reduced.  

Across the majority of Vancouver Island, between 10 to 15 centimetres of snow are expected to fall Tuesday evening.

On average, BC Hydro says that the highest demand for electricity is generally seen on weekday evenings, when most British Columbians come home from work and turn on their heat and lights. Evening cooking and laundry also adds to weekday evening spikes in electricity use. 

While Monday saw a record amount of electricity use across the province, BC Hydro notes that average electricity demand increases by 88 per cent during colder, darker winter months.

To help save Monday and reduce energy use, BC Hydro has released a number of tips for customers:

  • Setting thermostat at an ideal temperature based on time of day can help reduce wasted electricity:
    - 16 degrees Celsius when sleeping or away from home;
    - 21 degrees Celsius when relaxing, watching TV; and,
    - 18 degrees Celsius when doing housework or cleaning.
  • Avoid cranking up the thermostat – cranking up the thermostat does not heat the home up faster than turning it up a degree or two at a time
  • Draftproofing around windows and doors to reduce heat loss by 10 per cent

With significant amounts of snow predicted to fall across Vancouver Island Tuesday night, power outages may also occur due to weather. 

For the latest updates on Vancouver Island power outages, visit BC Hydro's website online here