Cold snap sees Alberta hit electricity use record

·1 min read
Albertans are using more power than ever before as the province endures a cold snap.   (Jacques Boissinot/Canadian Press - image credit)
Albertans are using more power than ever before as the province endures a cold snap. (Jacques Boissinot/Canadian Press - image credit)

Albertans are using more power than ever before as the province struggles through a prolonged cold snap.

On Monday, Alberta hit an all-time electricity-use record as people used almost 12,000 megawatt hours — enough to power 1,000 homes for an entire year.

Most of the province has been under an extreme cold warning this week, with daytime highs not rising much above –25 C.

"When temperatures are that cold, people are going to consume much more gas to heat their homes [than] would normally be the case," said Geoff Scotton, a spokesperson with the Alberta Utilities Commission.

And the prices being paid by Albertans for all that power have been on rise, says Evan Bahry, executive director of the Independent Power Producers Society of Alberta.

"So we have seen just recently record high power demand in light of the cold weather we've gone through here. And that has driven, of course, the need for electricity, and as demand increases, so, too, does the price of any commodity," he said.

Bahry says consumers who don't like to be at the whim of the market have the option of locking in a fixed rate.

And there are good deals to be struck at the moment, he said.

"In fact, some of the pricing being offered to residential consumers are lower than wholesale pricing."

The Utilities Consumer Advocate (UCA), which is mandated by the province to advocate for energy consumers in Alberta and mediate disputes between utility companies and consumers, has information about locking in power rates and other options in purchasing power.

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