More than a quarter of British Columbians would give up spouse for smartphone
BC Hydro says obsession with personal electronics is shifting household power use
From that exhilarating feeling brought on by the alert of a new text message to the countless hours spent scrolling through Instagram feeds — it's all contributing to a dramatic shift in household power use.
According to a report from BC Hydro, power use from small electronic devices, such as phones, laptops and tablets, has increased more than 150 per cent since the early 1990s, from seven per cent to 17 per cent.
The report found more than three quarters of British Columbians own a smart phone and they spend an average of of 4.6 hours a day on their devices each day. As a result, more time is spent charging these devices.
Hoping to understand users' habits, BC Hydro surveyed more than 400 people — and the results are telling.
Many may never admit it to their partner out loud, but one in four surveyed said they would be willing to give up their spouse for a full day if it meant keeping their smartphone for 24 hours.
At night, it turns out one in five people surveyed admit to sleeping with their phones.
That number jumps to a whopping 70 per cent in the 18-to-24 age group.
It used to be that refrigerators accounted for the largest portion of power use in an average B.C. home, but appliances have become more energy efficient.
While that has resulted in a decrease in consumption, small electronics like smartphones, laptops, gaming devices and even coffee makers are making up for the gap.
Looking ahead to a 'smart' future
In the near future, BC Hydro expects the consumption of electricity from small electronics will surpass that of big appliances.
But there's some uncertainty around how the popularity of these devices will affect usage rates. While the smart TVs, smart lights and smart speakers are more energy efficient, more people are using these products than ever before.
"Over 50 per cent of British Columbians are looking to purchase a smart home device over the next year," says BC Hydro spokesperson Tanya Fish.
Electric vehicles to skew numbers
As if consumption data isn't shifting enough, University of British Columbia Professor Martin Ordonez predicts change will be even more rapid as electric vehicles get thrown into the mix.
"What we are spending today at the gas pump will be transferred to the electricity bill."
He believes BC Hydro will have to take a number of steps to be able to handle such a massive increase in power need.
"Utilities in general are not ready," Ordonez said.