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6 easy hacks to save money when the heat spikes

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by Nicole Bogdanovic
July 20, 2018

Energy efficiency, Electricity, Customer service



FortisBC hit a new summer peak load of 626 megawatts (MW) this July, higher than our previous summer peak load of 601 MW from August 5, 2014. By comparison, last year’s summer peak was 593 MW, also in July.

We’re concerned that this could mean higher than expected bills for our electricity customers next month.

This is a good reminder that electricity use can spike if you’re using an air conditioner or other cooling system. By taking simple steps to save energy, you can reduce the load on your air conditioner or heat pump, which can help this equipment last longer and help save on your electricity costs.

Here are some energy-saving tips to keep cool while conserving power.

  1. Monitoring your consumption

    As a result of installing advanced meters, we now offer a free tool though Account Online that helps you see your weekly, daily and hourly electricity use data.
     
    Seeing how your use changes at different times empowers you to find your best ways to save energy and see what rebates may work best for you.
     
    For example, here’s a weekly and daily sample from a family of five living in a 40-year-old, single family home in the Kelowna area. This family would benefit from setting their air conditioning to come on a few degrees higher if they are away during the day.


  1. Cooling only the rooms you’re using

    If using an air conditioner, cool only the rooms you’re using. If your heating system is electric and it’s time to upgrade, consider a high-efficiency air source heat pump, which offers heating in the winter and cooling in the summer. Make sure your home is well-insulated to keep in the cold, conditioned air and keep out the heat.
     
  2. Managing your air conditioner or heat pump

    Setting the air conditioner to come on a few degrees higher when you’re home, such as 25 °C, and even higher when you’re not at home, can help reduce energy use. Now is also a good time to make sure your air conditioner or heat pump is well-maintained with a clean air filter.
     
  3. Keeping windows, curtains and blinds closed

    In the heat of the day, cover your windows to prevent the hot sun from heating up your house. Once the sun goes down, open them to let in the cooler air.
     
  4. Using a fan

    It will help circulate cooled air. You can also set your ceiling fan to summer mode (counter-clockwise as you look up at it) to move the air downward to create a wind chill effect.
     
  5. Planting a shade tree

    A great longer-term idea is to plant a tree. The best place is on the southwest or southeast side of your home. A deciduous tree that loses its leaves in the fall to allow in sunlight during the winter months is a good choice.
     

Here’s more helpful information in how to save: