Temps down, energy up
It’s cold outside and expected to get colder, so FortisBC is encouraging people to pay attention to energy usage.
Typically, January is the coldest part of the year and with many people spending more time at home as a result of COVID-19, more energy will be used during those cold days and weeks.
“Because the majority of energy used in B.C. at this time of year is for heating, our customers tend to experience their highest energy bills after periods of colder winter temperatures,” said Michelle Carman, director, customer service, FortisBC.
“That means any heat loss is an opportunity for energy savings, so steps taken to detect and reduce heat loss could help you stay more comfortable while also saving some money on your energy bill.”
FortisBC’s records show last winter’s peak use for both its natural gas and electricity services occurred on Jan. 14.
According to Environment Canada, temperatures dropped below -10 C in the Lower Mainland, and lower than -30 C in places like Prince George. As a result, natural gas use was up more than 75 per cent across the province as compared to an average January day.
Electric use was also up by four per cent over the coldest week from the previous year.
FortisBC historically sees demand for natural gas, the most commonly used energy for space heating, triple in the winter compared to the summer months. On average, customers who use electricity for home heating increase their use by approximately 80 per cent in the winter months.
There are a number of low cost and no cost ways to lower energy use in homes, including:
- sealing gaps and cracks around windows and doors to prevent heat loss,
- turning down the heat in unused rooms can also save on space heating,
- cleaning furnace filters and vacuuming out baseboard heaters to help ensure the heating system is working as efficiently as possible, and
- installing a programmable thermostat.
To learn more about how seasonal weather can affect bills and ways to reduce energy consumption, click here.