People go for a swim in Okanagan Lake in Kelowna on June 22. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)

People go for a swim in Okanagan Lake in Kelowna on June 22. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)

Summer power demand records broken: FortisBC

The record peak was set in July last year

More and more households are using fans and air conditioners to keep cool during the heat wave, which means demand for electric power has skyrocketed.

Last July, FortisBC set a record with a peak hourly demand of 651 megawatts. That record has now been shattered twice in consecutive days with 673 megawatts on June 27 and 735 on June 28.

“While the overall system was able to handle the load, crews have responded to small, isolated outages that are occurring when the system within a neighbourhood becomes overloaded from high demand,” FortisBC said in a statement.

“This is much like tripping a breaker in your house — when the system is overloaded, a fuse will trip and needed to be manually reset by crews.”

One such outage was on Lakeshore Road on Monday, leaving 1,686 customers without power around noon.

FortisBC said it’s important to be mindful of energy use and prioritize the appliances you need the most to avoid another trip in a neighbourhood system.

Here are some tips the utility has provided:

  • Setting air conditioners to come on two to three degrees higher. FortisBC recommends setting them to 25 C.
  • Waiting until later in the evening to use high-energy appliances such as ovens, dishwashers, and clothes dryers.
  • Reduce the use of heat-producing appliances like ovens and clothes dryers.

“We’re monitoring the system closely to detect any issues early and have crews on standby to respond to outages.

“In the event there is an outage, we encourage people have a plan to stay safe in the extreme weather, including being aware of cooling centres in their communities.”

If there is an unexpected outage in your neighbourhood, you can check for updates here.

READ MORE: Central Okanagan cooling centres open, busy as heat wave continues

READ MORE: Kelowna food trucks, farmers market closed due to extreme heat


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Heat wave