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

Nanaimo’s new NightOwls baseball team announces first player signings

Four NCAA Div. 1 players, three of them Canadians, added to roster

Best of the City: Breathe easy

Modo Yoga wins Best Yoga Studio category during challenging time for health and wellness businesses

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Mask rules inconsistent

Letter writer says he won’t pay fine for violating COVID-19 Related Measures Act

Nanaimo school district sees ‘unprecedented’ increase in distance-ed students

School District 68 hires teachers to support distance learning and transition program pupils

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Don’t party in a pandemic

Why are people holding parties when they know it is a health risk, asks letter writer

QUIZ: Do you know what’s on TV?

Fall is normally the time when new television shows are released

Best of the City: This year’s winners

Nanaimo News Bulletin presents full results of our 2020 Best of the City readers’ survey

Canadian ski resorts wrestle with pandemic-vs.-profit dilemma as COVID-19 persists

Few are actually restricting the total number of skiers they allow on the hill

Victoria-area RCMP locate high-risk sex offender thanks to help of taxi cab driver

Scott Jones wanted on a Canada-wide warrant, ‘a risk to women and girls,’ police say

A (virtual) walk around the world by 88-year-old B.C. man

George Doi says it’s simple: ‘I like walking’

End of CERB means uncertainty for some, new system for others

As of a week ago, the CERB had paid out $79.3 billion to 8.8 million people

Horgan, Wilkinson trade barbs over MSP premiums, health care at campaign stops

Horgan called a snap election for Oct. 24 earlier this week

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Best of the City: Greek taverna takes top spot

Asteras in the Old City Quarter chosen Nanaimo’s Best Restaurant Overall

Most Read