Alberta sets record for electricity demand

Cold winter weather pushed electricity demand in Alberta to a new all-time record Monday, the Alberta Electric System Operator reported Tuesday.

Average demand for the period from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. was 11,169 megawatts, eclipsing by 0.3 per cent the previous record of 11,139 MW set Dec. 2, 2013.

Temperatures were on the rise again Tuesday after dipping across the province Monday, when lows reached -21.9 C in Edmonton, -20.1 C in Calgary, -31.6 C in Grande Prairie, -25.9 C in Fort McMurray and -21.0 C in Medicine Hat.

Cold weather was the major factor in Monday’s demand peak, as people used more electricity to keep warm, said Angela Anderson, external relations adviser with the AESO.

Other factors included Christmas lights, household appliances and an increase in office and commercial electricity use after the holiday break, Anderson said.

Anderson said Albertans can watch their winter electricity bills by putting Christmas lights on timers and using appliances outside of peak hours.

Earlier this month, the AESO said Alberta was on track for a 3.5-per-cent increase in electricity demand for 2014, due to population growth in the cities and energy sector development.

On July 30, during a heat wave, Alberta set a new summer peak demand record — 10,419 MW.

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