FortisBC reports the January cold snap led to huge increases in natural gas consumption. (Photo by steven tsui on Unsplash)

Kootenay cold snap ups energy consumption as high as 75 per cent

On Jan. 14, natural gas use rose 50 per cent compared to the previous Tuesday

During a winter freeze, especially a Kootenay cold snap, it’s understandable that as temperatures dip, energy use will rise.

During last week’s icy blast, however, it’s not a stretch to say that energy use skyrocketed in Kootenay homes serviced by FortisBC, especially natural gas consumption.

“This winter storm has really brought in some low temperatures and high amounts of snow and this means people are using more energy in their homes to stay comfortable,” says FortisBC spokesperson Lauren Lea.

“As the natural gas provider, we thought you would be interested to know what we’re seeing within our system.”

On Jan. 14, natural gas use increased by 50 per cent compared to the previous week, Tuesday, Jan. 7.

“When comparing Tuesday’s usage to an average January day, there was more than a 75 per cent increase in natural gas use,” Lea said.

Electricity consumption was also up in the FortisBC service area, though not quite to the extent of natural gas.

“For our electric customers in the southern interior electricity use on Jan. 14 was up 35 per cent as compared to the previous Tuesday,” said Lea.

“The last seven days were also four per cent higher than last year’s highest week, which was the first week of January 2019.”

To help avoid a seasonal spike on energy bills, the company is advising homeowners on some necessary steps to take to keep their house comfortable in times of extreme weather.

“With much of B.C. experiencing extremely cold winter weather, FortisBC would like to remind its customers that taking precautions to reduce heat loss can help them stay comfortable, use less energy and reduce winter heating bills,” the company states.

“Heat lost is also money lost. Draft-proofing and sealing leaks, usually around windows and doors, as well as turning down the heat in unused rooms, have the most potential to save on space heating.”

Another way to save on home heating bills — potentially up to 15 per cent — is by using programmable thermostats and setting them to reduce temperatures overnight or while the home is empty, as well as only heating rooms that are in use.

FortisBC also recently completed a pilot program for connected or smart thermostats and found that when used properly, they lowered natural gas use by about 3.5 per cent and electricity use by 4.5 per cent.

Customers can also monitor and better understand their energy use using tools available on their online FortisBC account. There is also billing options (flat payments) that avoid seasonal variations.

Heating accounts for the most energy use in a home. This use typically spikes during periods of cold weather as furnaces, baseboard heating and heat pumps cycle more frequently to maintain consistent and comfortable temperatures inside homes. With heating appliances running more often, more energy is used.

In fact, FortisBC typically sees demand for natural gas, the most commonly used energy for space heating, triple in the winter months compared to the summer months. For customers who use electricity for home heating, use can increase by approximately 80 per cent.

About FortisBC:

FortisBC is a regulated utility focused on providing safe and reliable energy, including natural gas, electricity and propane. FortisBC employs more than 2,200 British Columbians and serves approximately 1.2 million customers in 135 B.C. communities.

The company owns and operates two liquefied natural gas storage facilities and four regulated hydroelectric generating plants, approximately 7,200 kilometres of transmission and distribution power lines, and approximately 48,700 kilometres of natural gas transmission and distribution pipelines.



newsroom@trailtimes.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

News and Weather

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Burglar swims across Columbia River to evade Trail police

RCMP Cpl. Devon Reid says the incident began the evening of Thursday, Feb. 20

Supreme Court of Canada will hear Sinixt appeal May 12

B.C. has appealed aboriginal hunting case through several levels of court starting in Nelson in 2016

Fire destroys Fauquier restaurant

Early-morning blaze destroys Mushroom Addition

Salmo RCMP report drug bust

Fentanyl, methamphetamine and cocaine were seized along with Canadian cash

Update: B.V. Nitehawks beat Leafs, seize Murdoch Division title

Beaver Valley Nitehawks knock off the Nelson Leafs 4-2 in final division-deciding game on Saturday

VIDEO: Illicit drug overdoses killed 981 in B.C. in 2019, down 38%

Chief coroner says figures were down about a third in the province’s fourth year of the opioid crisis

VIDEO: B.C.’s seventh coronavirus patient at home in Fraser Health region

Canada in ‘containment’ as COVID-19 spreads in other countries

B.C. takes over another Retirement Concepts senior care home

Summerland facility latest to have administrator appointed

RCMP pull office from Wet’suwet’en territory, but hereditary chiefs still want patrols to end

Chief says temporary closure of field office not enough as Coastal GasLink pipeline dispute drags on

Prescription opioids getting B.C. addicts off ‘poisoned’ street drugs

Minister Judy Darcy says Abbotsford pilot project working

Royals, Elvis, Captain Cook: Hundreds of wax figures find new life in B.C. man’s home

Former director of Victoria’s Royal London Wax Museum still hopes to revive wax figure tourism

Teck CEO says Frontier withdrawal a result of tensions over climate, reconciliation

Don Lindsay speaks at mining conference, a day after announcing suspension of oilsands project

‘Hilariously bad’: RCMP looking for couple with forged, paper Alberta licence plate

Mounties said the car crashed when it lost a wheel but the duo ran away as police arrived

UPDATE: Two missing scout leaders found near Sooke after swollen creek traps troop

Third leader and scouts located, prior to search for two leaders who’d gone for help

Most Read