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

Beloved Chemainus resident dies at 106

Dorothy Adair adored by the many people she met in the community in two short years

Sudden death leaves Lake Cowichan’s Shanahan family of five children without a father

GoFundMe campaign set up by wife Tiffany’s friend to help during crisis

From theatres to patios, Vancouver Island Symphony plays through the pandemic

A series of pop-up concerts are taking place in various locations from Saltair to Comox

Webinars provide emotional support, training for caregivers

Following the webinars, recordings of the sessions will be available to watch

Duncan model makes quarter finals in ‘Maxim’ magazine contest

Brandee Peart among top one per cent left in competition

Recent surge in COVID-19 cases not unexpected amid Phase Three of reopening: B.C.’s top doc

Keep circles small, wear masks and be aware of symptoms, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

B.C. NDP changing WorkSafeBC regulations to respond to COVID-19

Employers say reclassifying coronavirus could be ‘ruinous’

Baby raccoon rescued from 10-foot deep drainage pipe on Vancouver Island

‘Its cries were loud, pitiful and heartbreaking,’ Saanich animal control officer says

Statistical flaws led to B.C. wolf cull which didn’t save endangered caribou as estimated

Study finds statistical flaws in an influential 2019 report supporting a wolf cull

Windows broken, racist graffiti left on Okanagan home

Family says nothing like this has happened since they moved to Summerland in 1980s

Man arrested for allegedly pushing unsuspecting seniors, jumping on cars at Parksville mall

Cops arrest man after ‘aggressive incident’ at Wembley Mall in Parksville

B.C. man who went by ‘Doctor Ray Gaglardi’ charged with sex assault of teenage boys

The man, 75, is accused of assaulting teenage boys he met through Coquitlam-area churches

B.C.’s potential deficit $12.5 billion as spending spikes, taxes drop

Finance Minister Carole James gives COVID-19 outlook

Most Read