B.C. Hydro says it’s the cooking, not the TVs, that causes the most power usage during the Super Bowl. File photo

Superbowl spikes power consumption pre-game

BC Hydro finds electricity use spikes in the kitchen before the big game

Super Bowl Sunday may seem excessive in most ways, but when it comes to electricity consumption, the real battle is in the lead up to kick-off in the kitchen, not the main event.

Despite consuming massive amounts of things like chicken wings and beer, electricity use during the game does not increase more than a typical Sunday. However, preparations for hosting, or bringing food, to the event do have an impact on home electricity usage starting at about 11 a.m. In the past four years, the increase has been about eight per cent on average, most of which can be attributed to pre-game food preparation. That’s equivalent to cooking 2.4 million frozen pizzas.

By the time kick-off happens at 3 p.m., the increased electricity load drops off to what BC Hydro would typically experience on a Sunday. Despite an estimated 4.5 million people watching the Super Bowl every year in Canada, BC Hydro does not see an increase during the game.

Related: Come together: Super Bowl Sunday, the last stand of live TV

This can partially be attributed to collective watching. During the event, many people gather to attend parties hosted by friends or family, or head out to a restaurant or bar to watch the game. As a result, there are fewer screens on during the game than might be expected. Most people also forgo other energy consuming activities — like laundry or washing dishes — during the game, which is another reason there is not a big increase in power consumption.

To improve energy efficiency stats during the pre-game, BC Hydro recommends things like forgoing the preheat: Unless baking, most dishes do not need a pre-heated oven. While it may take the chicken wings a little longer to cook, the oven will use less energy.

Opting for smaller appliances: Where possible, use a smaller appliance such as a toaster oven, slow cooker or Instant Pot. These can use up to 75 per cent less electricity than an electric oven.

Skipping the heat-dry function: A house full of guests can produce a lot of dirty dishes. Turning off the heat-dry feature on the dishwasher can cut its electricity use in half.

Lowering the thermostat: Cooking can increase a household’s temperature significantly — lower the thermostat to a recommended 18 degrees Celsius.

For more information on how to save energy and money, visit powersmart.ca.


Steve Kidd
Senior reporter, Penticton Western News
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