Air conditioning homes is a likely driver of energy consumption as temperatures reach up to and beyond 40 degrees.

Air conditioning homes is a likely driver of energy consumption as temperatures reach up to and beyond 40 degrees.

Fortis breaks new energy records

Consumption spikes as residents try to keep cool

The records just keep falling for FortisBC this summer.

The electric company says it hit a new summer peak load of 630 megawatts (MW) on August 1.

Just two weeks earlier, it set a new record of 626 MW, on July 17.

The previous record was 601 MW, set on August 5, 2014.

It’s not likely the record will stand for long, as temperatures across the province climb into the high 30s and low 40s.

“We’re anticipating similar usage over the next few days,” says FortisBC spokesperson Nicole Bogdanovic.

It’s likely that homeowners trying to keep cool with air conditioning are driving the high consumption rates. And that has officials concerned about the sticker shock consumers will experience when they have to pay for all this energy they’re using.

“We remain concerned that people may see higher than expected bills next month,” says Bogdanovic. “We encourage customers to use the free tool on their online account to monitor their use and take simple steps, like using the BBQ instead of the oven, to reduce heat in their home and save money on cooling.

Other FortisBC suggestions include:

  • Cooling only the rooms in use, keeping windows, curtains and blinds closed, and managing the household air conditioner or heat pump.
  • Setting the air conditioner to come on a few degrees higher, such as 25 C, and even higher when you’re not at home.
  • Make sure air conditioners and heat pumps are well-maintained with a clean air filter.
  • Use a fan to help circulate cooled air and setting ceiling fans to summer mode, (counter-clockwise as you look up at it) to move the air downward to create a wind chill effect.
  • A long-term idea is to plant a shade tree on the southwest or southeast side of your home.
  • Use the monitoring tool. Rate users must first register for an online account on the FortisBC website to do so.

As power consumption spikes along with temperatures, FortisBC says it’s confident that several years of upgrades will ensure the system can deliver the electricity to supply demand.

 

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