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Hydro reports spike in power usage in B.C.

BC Hydro is reporting a spike in electricity usage on Monday as the province battled an intense heat wave.

According to a news release on Tuesday, July 15, BC Hydro registered a spike in electricty usage over the past week, which peaked on Monday, July 14, between 5 and 6 p.m.

During that hour, electricity demand reached 7,302 megawatts, which was 433 megawatts higher than the same time a week before, on Monday, July 7.

While BC Hydro has enough capacity available to serve the additional electricity load, the news release says, the energy required to serve this increase in demand is equivalent to running four Ruskin generating stations at maximum capacity.

To help homeowners cut down on their electricity bills, BC Hydro is making some suggestions on how to stay cool during the heat wave.

• Keep cool air in, and hot air out: lock out hot air during the day and open windows to let cooler air in during the evenings.

• Keep the blinds down: shade your windows and block up to 65 per cent of the heat.

• Use a ceiling fan: ceiling fans are the most efficient option for cooling. A ceiling fan can use one-tenth the energy of an air conditioner and is a great alternative. To lower indoor temperatures by up to ten per cent, ensure the fan is rotating counter-clockwise.

• Make laundry a breeze: hang dry half of your laundry to save up to $50 while keeping unnecessary heat out of your house.

• Fire up the barbeque: cook outside to reduce the use of your stove or oven.

• Keep your cool – Take shorter, cooler showers. Reduce your shower time by one minute and save $15 per person. That's $60 for a family of four.

Generally, BC Hydro sees the highest demand for electricity between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. on weekday evenings.

Most often, the highest usage of electricity in B.C. that Hydro registers is during winter, since about 50 per cent of home energy use over the year is for space heating, generated by electricity, gas or a combination of both.

The record peak was on November 29, 2006, again between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m., when demand reached 10,113 megawatts.

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