Power consumption record broken as temperatures top 30 C in parts of Alberta
Environment Canada heat warnings remain in effect for much of southern Alberta
Alberta set a new summer record for power consumption, peaking at 10,852 megawatts Thursday afternoon, as the hot weather had people retreating to the comfort of air conditioners.
Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) spokesperson Tara de Weerd said in peak conditions, it's always a good idea for people to look at ways they can conserve energy.
"We do suggest to folks that if they can do even small things, like not use their major appliances during peak times, like between five and seven [o'clock], all those things help the system, that's for sure."
De Weerd said a couple of Alberta's major coal plants were down this week, putting a slight strain on reserves.
The AESO said there is adequate supply to meet demand, so there is no formal call for people to cut back on their power use.
The power consumption record was the second set this month.
It reached 10,520 megawatts on July 9.
In Calgary, the temperature reached a high of 32.7 C on Thursday and only got down to 11.7 C overnight.
Friday could be a bit cooler — with a high of 27 C and a chance of showers — but temperatures are expected to reach 29 C to 31 C until next Thursday, Environment Canada says.
The average high for July 27 in Calgary is 23.4 C.
Edmonton had a high of 30 C on Thursday and is forecast to stay in the high 20s for the next seven days.
Stay cool and green
The City of Calgary is reminding residents of ways to reduce their water consumption on hot summer days.
This July has seen a "notable increase" in water usage compared to the same month last year, which saw more rain, said Water Centre spokeswoman Jennifer Makar.
She has tips for gardeners, such as checking the forecast for rain before watering. If there's no rain in the forecast, use the hose in the early morning or evenings so the water will soak in, rather than evaporate in the hot sun.
"One thing I'd like to discourage people from doing is using their hose to rinse off their driveways and their sidewalks…use a broom," she said.
Rain barrels are increasing in popularity, said Conor Tapp, a spokesperson with Green Calgary.
His tips for staying cool on a hot day include keeping windows closed, as well as sealing cracks in windows and doors to keep out the heat.
Rather than cooling your entire home with an air conditioner, try keeping yourself cool, he adds.
"Try cooling yourself with a directed fan, put a cold cloth around your neck, or keep things around you that are cool rather than trying to cool your entire home and every room in it when you're not using that space," Tapp said.
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