Record heat results in new summer electricity consumption record

Six new summer heat records were the main contributing factors in the new summer power demand record recorded by SaskPower on Thursday.

On August 9 Saskatchewan established a new summer peak record of electrical consumption, reaching 3,520 megawatts of electricity consumption, breaking the previous summer record of 50 megawatts. The additional consumption is the equivalent amount of electricity needed for 50,000 homes.

“We’ve seen both summer and winter records set every year for a good while now. And if last summer is any indication, we could very well see another record before temperatures cool off heading into the fall,” said SaskPower Vice President of Transmission and Industrial Services Kory Hayko. “It’s not impossible we’ll break this record again in the coming days. It’s SaskPower’s responsibility to ensure that Saskatchewan people and businesses have the power they need to thrive. That’s what drives our investment of $1 billion every year to modernize and grow the province’s electrical system.”

Cooling and heating represents approximately a quarter of residential power bills. To reduce consumption and power bills during heat waves, SaskPower’s customers can:

– Turn down or program the air conditioning when no one is home (for every degree that air conditioning is lowered for an eight-hour period, customers can save up to two per cent on their power costs);

– Consider having their air conditioning unit inspected to make sure it is operating efficiently;

– Keep the heat out by closing blinds and drapes, especially those with direct sunlight;

– Delay chores that produce heat and moisture, like dishwashing and laundering, until the cooler parts of the day or evening; and

– As with any time of the year, make sure lights, televisions and other electronics are turned off when no one’s in the room. For example, a modern gaming console can use as much power as a refrigerator.

Most communities in southern Saskatchewan had temperatures above 30 Celsius, but six locations broke former temperature marks.

The Cypress Hills Provincial Park area reached 33.5 Celsius on Thursday to break their former August 9 record of 31.9 Celsius set in 2006. It now stands as the warmest August 9 since records were set back in 1918.

Maple Creek and area climbed to 36.1 Celsius to equal the record set all the way back in 1936.

Lucky Lake set a new record of 34.3 Celsius to eclipse the previous mark of 32.8 set in 1972.

Other records were set in:
Assiniboia: 34.4 Celsius (previous record 34.3 in 2006).
Collins Bay: 28.2 Celsius (previous record 27.8 in 1989).
Coronach: 36.5 Celsius (previous record 35.0 in 1964).
Rockglen: 34.6 Celsius (previous record 33.5 in 2006).

Thursday was also a record breaking weather day across Western Canada, with 12 new record highs in neighbouring Alberta, along with 24 records in British Columbia.

Swift Current did not set a record on Thursday despite reaching 34.1 Celsius. Val Marie came close to a new record when the temperature soared to 37.9 Celsius.