British Columbia

Power usage hits record summer high in B.C.

BC Hydro reported Tuesday that demand for electricity — to run air conditioners and fans, among other things — was the highest it has ever been in July.

Power consumption peaked Monday evening, when hourly demand reached more than 7,800 MW

Air conditioning use in B.C. has tripled since 2001, says BC Hydro, as more people seek to beat the summer heat. (Mike Laanela/CBC)

It's not only temperatures that have hit record-breaking highs in B.C. over the past week. 

BC Hydro reported Tuesday that demand for electricity — to run air conditioners and fans, among other things — was the highest it has ever been in July. 

Power consumption peaked Monday evening, when the hourly demand reached more than 7,800 megawatts — roughly the combined capacity of B.C.'s three largest generating stations.

The month of July had 14 days with peak hourly demand exceeding 7,000 megawatts, which is also a new record for BC Hydro. 

'Result of climate change'

"This is a continuation of a trend of higher demand in July as a result of climate change," BC Hydro said in a statement. 

A report BC Hydro released in July showed that air-conditioner use in the province has more than tripled to 34 per cent since 2001. And with 25 per cent of British Columbians saying they are considering buying an air conditioner this summer, the upward trend is expected to continue, according to the report. 

BC Hydro's highest ever level of power consumption was on Jan. 3, 2017.

"B.C. is fortunate to have a large, clean hydroelectric system that can be counted on at all times of the year to respond within seconds to changes in electricity demand that occur when temperatures reach extreme highs or lows," the release said. 

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