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Power usage spikes during cold snap

With temperatures plunging below -30∞C last week, Alberta set a new record for electricity consumption. Citizens across the province used 10,315 Megawatts on Jan. 15 and 10,609 Megawatts on Jan. 16. This bests a record set in Dec.
Power usage reached record levels across Alberta, and spiked in Airdrie, Cochrane, Irricana, Crossfield, Chestermere, Acme and Beiseker, during last week’s cold snap.
Power usage reached record levels across Alberta, and spiked in Airdrie, Cochrane, Irricana, Crossfield, Chestermere, Acme and Beiseker, during last week’s cold snap.

With temperatures plunging below

-30∞C last week, Alberta set a new record for electricity consumption.

Citizens across the province used 10,315 Megawatts on Jan. 15 and 10,609 Megawatts on Jan. 16.

This bests a record set in Dec. 14, 2009 when Albertans used 10,236 Megawatts.

The numbers should come as no surprise, according to Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO).

Within the county, most areas experienced increases week-over-week from Jan. 9 to 16. Acme and Beiseker went from 8,506 KWh to 9,643 KWh, Chestermere increased from 14,435 KWh to 17,474 KWh and Cochrane jumped from 25,733 to 30,636.

Crossfield and Irricana had marginal increases: 11,872 KWh to 12,611 KWh and 4,460 KWh to 4,875 KWh, respectively.

ìThe current cold front, combined with overall provincial growth in demand for electricity, are factors contributing to the record high levels occurring this week,î said John Esaiw, AESOís director of forecasting.

Albertaís power demand grew by 2.6 per cent last year and will likely grow again in 2012, added Esaiw.

ìSimply put, the transmission capacity has not kept pace with combined load and generation development in Alberta,î said Esaiw.

ìWe need to have that transmission infrastructure in place ahead of our growing demand for electricity to ensure that investment, market access and economic development are not compromised.î

Lisa Brake with FortisAlberta in Airdrie said the high consumption doesnít affect its system.

ìItís operations as usual,î she said.

ìHowever, we like to help our customers with energy efficiency. When you use more electricity, ≠≠you pay more.î

Brake said people can do simple things that add up to big savings when it comes to power usage.

Installing a timer on your block heater, having full loads of clothing in the dryer and shortening the amount of time you use a space heater can help lower bills, she said.

Brake said she had no knowledge of brownouts or blackouts in Airdrie during the days of record power consumption.

A chinook hit the county the weekend of Jan. 20 and raised temperatures considerably from the week before.

The Calgary regionís Jan. 21-27 forecast predicted daytime highs between 2∞C and 7∞C.


Airdrie City View Staff

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