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Cold weather means power usage spikes

It is not uncommon for power usage to jump up 10 per cent during cold snaps

Red Deer can see power usage jump up to 10 per cent during cold snaps.

“With the cold snap we’re experiencing, we’re abosolutely seeing a little bit of an increase (in power demand),” said Electric Light and Power manager Jim Jorgenson. Exact numbers were not available on Friday.

“We haven’t seen anything concerning or that is going to cause undue strain on the system. At this point, there’s sufficient capacity.”

Demand would probably have been even higher but for the holidays when businesses often have fewer staff working and more days when the doors are closed.

Power consumption peaks during the winter months, when shorter days also means the lights are on longer. A five- to 10-per-cent spike is not uncommon when the temperature drops to the minus-teens or minus-20s.

“That December, January and February stretch we’ll see the highest consumption depending on what the weather is like.”

While many homes are heated with gas it is spread through the house by an electric blower, which uses up a lot of juice especially when it’s running all the time.

Summer peaks in July and August are catching up though as home air conditioning becomes more common.

“Everybody’s investing in it for those two weeks of sleep,” he said with a chuckle.

About 70,000 megawatt hours of electricity are used during a typical December.

“I would say we’re probably close to a normal December.”

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