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 lifeguards this summer for Cowichan’s Fuller Lake, Arbutus Park; Crofton pool closed

Fears of risk to health and safety during COVID-19 pandemic to blame

You’ll have to pay to get on the bus again in Cowichan

Beginning June 1, fare collection and front door boarding started again

39 caught speeding through Cowichan school zones

On June 1, North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP conducted speed enforcement in several school zones

Lake Cowichan firefighters douse blaze at Mayo Road

Sahtlam called in for mutual aid in abandoned shop and motorhome

Caps send Luciano Wilson to Penticton Vees

Hometown hero led Cowichan in scoring last season

If Trudeau won’t stand up to Trump, how will regular people: Singh

Trudeau did not directly answer a question about Trump’s actions amid protests

List of cancelled Cowichan Valley community events

An ongoing list of events that have been cancelled in the Cowichan Valley due to COVID-19

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

Bank of Canada keeps key interest rate target on hold at 0.25%

Central bank now expects GDP to decline between 10 and 20 per cent compared with the fourth quarter of 2019

Friendly Cove and Kyuquot will remain closed until further notice

Transition of other B.C. communities will be monitored before a decision to ease restrictions

Racist incident shocks Vancouver Island First Nation

Port Alberni RCMP investigating after video shows truck wheeling through Tseshaht territory

Gold River organizes a shop local initiative to creatively boost economy

Local purchases can earn shoppers $200 gift certificates to be spent on businesses within Gold River

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

RCMP, coroner investigate murder-suicide on Salt Spring Island

Two dead, police say there is no risk to the public

Most Read