For the second time in a week, SaskEnergy sets gas consumption record

·2 min read

Regina– It is so cold out there, Regina set a record for the number of consecutive hours with -40C wind chill. And when it’s that cold, you need heat to keep you warm. As a result, for the second time in less than a week, SaskEnergy reported a new record for daily natural gas consumption in the province, breaking a record established just a few days earlier.

Daily gas consumption numbers are tracked over a 24-hour period from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. A new record of 1.59 petajoules (PJ) was set Feb. 12. The previous record of 1.57 PJ was set early this week on Feb. 9.

A petajoule is a unit of measurement equivalent to one million gigajoules (GJ) of natural gas – the average home in Saskatchewan consumes about 100 GJ of natural gas annually.

Spokesperson Casey MacLeod said by phone on Feb. 12 this happens more and more frequently, especially when you have an extended cold snap. A key reason why they use more gas is that the entire system keeps growing. “Every year our system grows. We add more customers. More natural gas is being used for power production, for industrial use.

She explained that extended periods of cold, combined with just the annual system growth, mean it's not surprising to us to see records repeatedly broken.

This is the eighth winter in a row that the usage record has been matched or exceeded. Record-setting natural gas usage days are happening due to residential, business and industrial customer growth – including increasing natural gas use for power production in Saskatchewan.

In recent years, SaskPower has also brought the natural gas-fired Chinook Power Station online at Swift Current. According to the Government of Saskatchewan website, Saskatchewan’s population has grown from 1,091,547 in January, 2013 to 1,117,884 today, an increase of 7.9 per cent.

SaskEnergy noted its pipeline system is designed to accommodate this increased growth, ensuring additional capacity so that, even on peak record days, the system is able to provide more natural gas than required.

SaskEnergy said employees work throughout the year to inspect, maintain and upgrade the province’s natural gas delivery system so that it can operate safely and efficiently regardless of the weather conditions. The system is monitored 24 hours a day to manage peak demand situations such as the winter weather conditions Saskatchewan has been experiencing.

Brian Zinchuk, Local Journalism Initiative reporter, Estevan Mercury