The BC Hydro dam at Alouette Lake. (Contributed)

BC Hydro seeing 10% dip in electricity demand, concerned about reservoir spillover

B.C. could see a decrease in electricity use double that of the 2008 recession by April 2021

British Columbian’s power utility may need to turn off its smaller plants amid an unprecedented dip in electricity usage during the pandemic.

In a report released Monday, BC Hydro said it’s seeing a 10 per cent decrease in electricity use since mid-March and is projecting a 12 per cent drop by April 2021. If the decrease occurs, it would be double the decline seen during the 2008 recession.

Broken down, B.C. saw commercial and industrial energy demand drop by 20 per cent and seven per cent, respectively, in April compared to March. Residential use dipped in March but has since gone up to regular levels.

Chief among BC Hydro’s concerns is the possibility of spills from its reservoirs.

“If not addressed proactively, the growing capacity could lead to large and prolonged spills from its facilities, creating potential environmental risks and impacts to BC Hydro infrastructure,” the report stated.

Prolonged spills could harm fish through high total dissolved gas pressure downstream, as fish are only able to find refuge during shorter spills.

“This means prolonged, excessive spilling can increase fish mortality rates,” the report said.

The utility said it was immediately shutting down operations at some of its smaller plants and spilling water at facilities such as Seven Mile and Revelstoke to balance energy production and real-time usage. Powerex—BC Hydro’s trading subsidiary—will export electricity to other jurisdictions, although the report acknowledged that may be difficult as many areas are seeing a dip in power usage.

B.C. is not the only jurisdiction seeing a dip in energy use. A report from the International Energy Agency found global daily electricity demand has declined by 15 per cent.

READ MORE: BC Hydro offers three-month bill ‘holiday’ for those affected by COVID-19


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BCHydroCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

No criminality in the 2019 death of woman found on Kelowna beach

Caitlin was found deceased on Gyro Beach on April 21, 2019

VIDEO: Top cop calls video of Kelowna Mountie striking suspect ‘concerning’

A video allegedly shows a Kelowna Mountie striking a man several times

$220K for Okanagan Rail Trail loo

Successful proposal for Westkal Road comes ‘well within project budget’

Kelowna trial for three men charged in Hope murder delayed 11 months

The trial for the alleged killers of Michael Bonin has been moved to May 2021, was supposed to begin this month

UBC announces downtown Kelowna campus

Construction not anticipated to begin for two years, due to zoning processes

WATCH: North Okanagan golf cart stolen, then returned

Homeowners have footage of two men taking the cart and then bringing it back

As two B.C. offices see outbreaks, Dr. Henry warns tests don’t replace other measures

Physical distancing, PPE and sanitizing remain key to reduce COVID-19 spread

Greater Victoria drive-thru window smashed after man receives burger without mustard

Greater Victoria Wendy’s staff call police after man allegedly rips Plexiglas barrier off window

Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen pre-approves temporary expanded patios during COVID-19 pandemic

Blanket pre-approval granted to all licensees within regional district’s boundaries

Murder charge upgraded in George Floyd case, 3 other cops charged

Floyd’s family and protesters have repeatedly called for criminal charges against all four officers

Titanic fails to successfully cross Atlantic a second time

I can hold her in my two hands. She is tiny and… Continue reading

Osoyoos man arrested, charged with possession of child pornography

Shawn Barry Titus, 37, was arrested at a motel in Osoyoos on May 21

Young killer whale untangles itself from trap line off Nanaimo shore

DFO marine mammal rescue unit was en route as whale broke free from prawn trap line

Most Read