Energy use hits high mark in Kootenays

Fortis BC reports highest energy demand since 2008

The recent cold snap has forced West Kootenay residents to turn up the heat in their homes and that is having an impact on use, says FortisBC.

For electricity use, last Wednesday, Jan. 4 was the peak day for the season on the system overall, with demand at 731 megawatts, reported Nicole Bogdanovic of FortisBC corporate communications.

“This is the highest demand we’ve seen on our system since we reached our record peak load of 746 megawatts in December 2008,” she said.

“Castlegar is quite representative of what we experienced in the Kootenay region. Wednesday was a peak day with demand at 26 megawatts or 24 per cent higher than the end of November, which was 19 megawatts. This is also about three per cent higher than mid-December when we experienced the previous cold period in the region. The peak loads typically occur between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m.”

While demand for natural gas continues to be high in the Interior, the highest usage day this season remains Dec. 16, which was 50 per cent higher than the end of November.

That was also the coldest day in December with the Southeast Fire Centre reporting an overnight low of -15.8 C, a new record for that day.

“The record load on our natural gas system was November 2014,” Bogdanovic added.

“With the investment we’ve put in the system over the last 10 years, we’re prepared to handle the higher demand on the electricity system. We’re also able to supplement our natural gas supply with our LNG stores on the coast.

“We do remain very concerned about our customers who may be facing higher than expected energy bills. Energy use is typically 50 per cent higher in the winter than summer, and this is a good reminder to take steps to weatherize homes and businesses, and make sure heating systems are in good working condition.”

Some quick and easy things people can do to reduce energy use during a cold snap are:

· Putting on a sweater instead of turning up the heat.

· Checking for drafts around windows and doors, and adding or replacing worn weather stripping.

· If you’re looking to make energy saving upgrades to your home, like upgrading insulation, water heaters or high-efficiency fireplaces, make sure to check for Fortis rebates.

Customers can visit fortisbc.com for additional tips, instructional videos and information about programs that can help them reduce their energy use.

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