Heatwave sends B.C. electricity demand soaring

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VICTORIA -- Electricity demand in British Columbia was at an all-time high on Saturday due to an unprecedented heat wave.

According to BC Hydro, preliminary analysis found that energy consumption reached 7,972 megawatts, which tops the previous record of 7,897 megawatts set on August 18th, 2020. BC Hydro typically sees their highest peak hourly demand on weekdays when customers follow a more "routine" schedule, which makes Saturday's new record even more unique.

Ted Olynyk -- Communications Manager with BC Hydro -- says the new record may be short lived.

"We anticipate that on Monday and Tuesday we're going to break the record another time," said Olynyk. "We should hit around 8,300 megawatts of consumption."

As the temperatures and demand for power continue to rise, BC Hydro says they'll be providing updates on how much load has increased, and how the system is performing. Olynyk notes that unlike some parts of the United States, British Columbia has a plentiful energy supply to rely upon.

"BC Hydro has more than enough supply at this time of year to meet the demand the heat has put on our system." said Olynyk. "Unlike other parts of North America, we have more than enough capacity available to us.

Olynyk adds that BC Hydro has also taken steps to protect the safety of its customers and employees by canceling the majority of planned outages, as well as temporarily suspending disconnections for non-payment.