City nearing new peak demand record

Block heaters, Christmas lights and household chores all contribute to setting a new record level of power consumption within the City of Red Deer.

Block heaters, Christmas lights and household chores all contribute to setting a new record level of power consumption within the City of Red Deer.

Ligong Gan, electric light and power manager for the city, said he expected to set a new consumption record at some point in the late afternoon on Monday.

The city’s previous peak demand of 136 megawatts was reached at about 5 p.m. on Jan 8, 2009 during a nasty cold snap.

Gan anticipated the city would set a new record on Monday afternoon because of near-record cold combined with additional demands of the Christmas season.

Peak demand almost always occurs between 4 and 6 p.m. on a weekday, when people come home from work or school and flip on their lights, turn on their televisions, cook their meals and fire up their washers and dryers, said Gan.

That sharp increase in consumption has a direct effect on the amount of money charged for electricity, because transmission fees are based on peak demand, said Gan. Consumers therefore can play a direct role in reducing those fees, he said.

“If people can reduce the demand, they can reduce the demand charge.”

He offers the following tips to help people reduce consumption and lower the amount of electricity they use at peak hours:

• Try to use appliances like washers and dryers during off-peak hours.

• Use energy saving light bulbs and don’t light the entire room if a single lamp will do.

• Use energy efficient holiday lighting.

• Use motion sensors and timers on holiday lights.

• Use a timer on your vehicle block heater.

• Reheat meals in a microwave rather than a conventional oven.

• Unplug electrical devices and shut down your computer and its peripherals when they are not in use.

• Turn down the heat and consider purchasing a programmable thermostat.

• Have an energy assessment performed on your home to find ways of reducing electrical consumption.

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