Stay cool and save energy when the heat spikes

The heat wave will see an jump in energy use as cooling systems work harder to keep up with demand.

KELOWNA — The record-breaking heat expected in the coming days could cause an increase in energy use as cooling systems work harder to keep up with demand.

FortisBC finds that demand on its system typically peaks between 5 and 7 p.m. on weekdays when people are returning home from activities. Which is why we’re encouraging customers to find fun ways to stay cool.

Customers who share their tips for staying cool and conserving energy on Instagram before August 31, 2017 could win $300 grocery gift card. For details, see instagram.com/fortisbc. Here are some more tips for reducing energy use:  Cooking on an outdoor grill and saving the oven roasts for winter.

* Planting a shade tree on the southwest or southeast side of a home. A deciduous tree that loses its leaves in the fall to allow in sunlight during the winter months is a good choice.

* Turning the pilot light off on natural gas fireplaces and having it relit in the fall by a licensed gas contractor with your annual furnace maintenance.

* Considering an air source heat pump instead an air conditioner if it’s time to upgrade a home’s cooling system. Heat pumps maintain a steady indoor air temperature year-round, cooling in the summer and heating in the winter, while using less energy than air conditioners. Even better, qualifying heat pumps are eligible for a rebate of up to $1,200 from FortisBC.

* Switching to a water-efficient shower head. With about 20 per cent of residential energy bills spent on water heating, this could save a family of four about $40 per year.

* Washing laundry in cold water and hang to dry; in this weather, clothes will dry in no time. Also, electricity customers who want to monitor their energy can see how their usage changes at different times of the day and hour-by-hour by logging into Account Online.

In addition to helping customers manage their energy use, FortisBC is monitoring the system closely. Its electricity system is designed to handle increased summer demand.

To make sure power is available when people need it, FortisBC is reviewing its planned maintenance outages and will postpone any with significant impacts and shift smaller planned outages to cooler parts of the day.

FortisBC keeps a close eye on the safety of its employees working outdoors. Crews know to get out of the heat if they need to, are supplied with extra water to stay well hydrated and, during the hottest parts of the day, only undertake strenuous tasks as needed.