2021 was a record-setting year for BC Hydro. (File photo)

2021 was a record-setting year for BC Hydro. (File photo)

BC Hydro sees surge of power use records in 2021

Extreme weather drives higher demand, Hydro expects high use to become regular with climate change

A new report from BC Hydro found 2021 was a record-breaking year for power usage in B.C. driven largely by the year’s extreme weather events.

The report shows that the utility had record peak loads in 2021, which describes the electricity demand in the province during the highest load hour of each day.

“With the heat dome in the summer and the sustained cold temperatures in December, we saw more record-breaking hours on more days last year than any other single year,” BC Hydro spokesperson Kyle Donaldson said.

READ MORE: B.C. heat dome contributed to higher-than-average deaths this year, says StatsCan

Typically, BC Hydro experiences the highest peak loads in the winter. But due to the heat dome in summer 2021, BC Hydro set 19 of its top 25 all-time summer daily peak records, including a new record for all-time summer peak hourly demand.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, BC Hydro set 11 of its top 25 all-time daily peak records in the winter during a cold snap that chilled much of the province.

READ MORE: B.C. urged to prepare for holiday cold snap with -50 C expected in the north

With record usage and extreme weather also came anxiety. A BC Hydro survey found that 76 per cent of respondents said they have concerns about the reliability of their energy supply because of climate change.

Although many of their customers are concerned, BC Hydro says they have more than enough energy to go around — the utility currently has a surplus of electricity and expects to have more energy than it requires until around 2030.


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