The Blue Grass Sod Farms Central Spray Park, located just north of the Recreation Centre at 47A Ave. and 48 St., is a fun option to cool down. (File photo by Jeff Stokoe/Advocate staff)

Hot weather pushes energy consumption up

Residents try to cool off as temperatures continue to soar

Electricity consumption jumped 10 per cent on Thursday as Red Deerians tried to stay cool.

Red Deer reached a high of 31 C on Thursday so people were relying on their air-conditioners and fans.

Jim Jorgensen, Red Deer’s Electric Light and Power manager, said it’s normal to see about a 10 per cent increase when temperature reach around 30 C.

“Our peak demand yesterday was 131 megawatts, which is actually quite far off from any type all-time peaks we would have experienced, back when we were booming along in 2013, 2014,” Jorgensen said on Friday.

The province set a new summer consumption record when it reached 10,852 megawatts on Thursday beating the 10,802 record set earlier this month on July 7. Prior to that the record was 10,520 megawatts attained on July 9, 2015.

Erin Powell, communications adviser with Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) that manages and operates the provincial power grid, said in the past, summer records tended to be broken every year or so.

She said there was adequate supply to meet the demand on Thursday.

“The winds picked up yesterday, which helped us out, and we had some power imports mainly from B.C., which helped us out so we were in good shape,” Powell said.

Next week, another string of hot days are in the forecast and AESO will be monitoring the electrical system closely.

“We’re always monitoring the system, and our system controllers are very skilled at managing heat waves like this so we keep the lights on for everybody,” Powell said.

Jorgensen said residents can always help out by reducing electricity consumption at peak hours by avoiding using dishwashers, washers and dryers when they get home at the end of the day.

“If you can do some of those things in off hours, it helps spread out the demand over a larger period. Conservation is always good, especially when we get up into more challenging weather times when we know we’re putting more strain on the system,” he said.

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