Electrical demand soars with temps in sweltering Sask.


SaskPower recorded a new summer demand record for electricity on at 5:22 pm on Wednesday of 3,551 megawatts (MW), but hotter days are ahead.

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As temperatures climb in Saskatchewan, the province has set a new summer record for electricity demand.

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According to SaskPower, the Crown corporation recorded a new summer demand record for electricity at 5:22 pm on Wednesday of 3,551 megawatts (MW).

The previous record was set on June 30 last year and was 3,547 MW. The difference of four MW is the equivalent of approximately 4,000 average Saskatchewan homes. The all-time demand record of 3,910 MW was set on Dec. 30, 2021.

But with the extreme heat anticipated for several days, SaskPower says it’s possible another new record could be set within the week.

SaskPower says despite the heat-driven demand, it can provide “stable, reliable power,” according to a release issued Friday, when most of the southern half of the province remained under a heat warning from Environment Canada.

In Regina on Friday, Environment Canada was warning of daytime highs of 32C and higher, and overnight lows near 16C over the next several days — meaning there are some hot days ahead for those gathered outdoors in Craven for the Country Thunder music festival.

Daytime highs in Saskatoon were forecasted to hit 34C on Saturday and remain in the high-20s for the next week. At the Ness Creek Music Festival in Big River this weekend, the predicted highs were between 25C and 29C.

“We have a number of protocols and contingencies in place to ensure that throughout this current heatwave, SaskPower’s system will deliver the power our customers need,” Kory Hayko, vice-president of Transmission and Industrial Services at SaskPower, is quoted in the release.

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At peak, SaskPower registered approximately 260 MW of generation coming from wind facilities and eight MW coming from solar facilities. SaskPower also had adequate power reserves throughout the peak hours, should demand increase further.

As heating and cooling homes represent a significant portion of a customer’s power bill, SaskPower offered a few tips to help conserve electricity throughout the hot summer months:

  • Ensure air conditioners and furnaces are operating as efficiently as possible by having this equipment inspected routinely by a licensed professional
  • Consider investing in a programmable or smart thermostat to ensure a home is being heated or cooled only when needed
  • Close blinds and window coverings during the daytime to keep the heat out, and ensure all doors and windows are closed tightly
  • Delay activities that produce heat and moisture, such as dishwashing or laundry, until later in the day or into the evening when temperatures are cooler
Hot summer weather made Maple Leaf Pool a popular place this week in Regina.
Hot summer weather made Maple Leaf Pool a popular place this week in Regina. Photo by TROY FLEECE /Regina Leader-Post

WHEN IT’S TOO HOT

The Saskatchewan Health Authority is reminding the public to take precautions with rising temperatures. Heat warnings have been issued for the province’s southwest, northwest, and west-central areas, with humidex values ​​expected to approach the 40-degree mark on Saturday afternoon.

Heat-related illnesses include heat rash (skin irritation), heat cramps (muscle cramps), heat edema (swelling of hands, feet, and ankles), heat fainting, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

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The SHA’s tips to avoid becoming ill during periods of extreme heat include:

  • Keep out of the sun during the peak hours of 11 am to 3 pm, if possible.
  • If you need to be outside, wear appropriate sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses and light, loose-fitting cotton clothes.
  • Avoid any extreme physical exertion and keep in the shade whenever possible.
  • If you do not have air conditioning at home, know where to go to cool down. Air-conditioned public spaces include malls, leisure centres, libraries, etc.
  • Stay hydrated with cold water and cold drinks, avoiding excess alcohol. Eat cold foods.
  • Take cool baths or showers.
  • Keep your living space cool. This is especially important for infants, the elderly, and those with chronic health conditions or those who cannot look after themselves (including pets).
  • Keep windows exposed to the sun closed during the day and open windows at night when the temperature has dropped.
  • Watch out for isolated, elderly, ill or very young people and ensure they can keep cool.
  • Ensure that babies, children, older adults, adults, and pets are not left alone in stationary vehicles or unsupervised when near open water.
  • Check on elderly or sick neighbors, family or friends daily during the heat wave.

Heat Stroke is a medical emergency. Call 911 or seek immediate medical assistance if you are caring for someone with a high body temperature, unconscious, confused, or stopped sweating.

A bicyclist rides through Wascana Center on Tuesday, July 12, 2022 in Regina as temperatures edged close to 30C.
A bicyclist rides through Wascana Center on Tuesday, July 12, 2022 in Regina as temperatures edged close to 30C. Photo by TROY FLEECE /Regina Leader-Post

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