Cold and snowy is the forecast for Vancouver Island this week, and that sparked a warning from BC Hydro for residents to make sure they’re ready for a power outage.
Hydro is recommending everyone be prepared for an outage, especially during cold weather. Outages happen more frequently when heavy snow accumulates causing tree branch breakage — more common here in B.C. because there is three times the number of trees per kilometre of power line compared to any other utility in North America.
Residents are being urged to have an emergency kit on hand with flashlights, a battery-operated radio, warm clothing and blankets, and a corded telephone.
In a bid to lessen peak load stresses on the power grid, Hydro released a number of suggestions to residents about how they can help.
• Use energy-intensive household appliances such as clothes washers and dryers, dishwashers and portable space heaters – outside of the peak hours of 4 to 8 p.m. If you must use them, try to only use one at a time.
• Portable space heaters can be effective to take the chill out of a small room or to heat a small area but are not efficient to heat large spaces or multiple rooms. Use your space heater safely: place it on a hard surface like concrete or ceramic tile floor; keep the heater away from bedding, drapes, furniture, books, and newspapers; don’t leave the house with the space heater on or go to sleep with the space heater left on.
• Keep windows covered with closed blinds and drapes for an extra layer of window insulation. Window coverings can be a quick and cost-effective way to cut heat loss and block cold drafts. Easy-to-install window film provides an additional pane to keep heat in.
• Put your lights on timers: Put all outdoor lighting on a timer, or install a motion sensor for security lighting.
• Install a programmable thermostat and set the thermostat to automatically adjust temperatures at different times based on your family’s activities, ensuring electricity is not wasted when no one is home and the temperature is turned down when everyone is sleeping.
• One of the easiest and most inexpensive ways to reduce heat loss is to prevent heat from leaking out and cold air from coming in. Use caulking and weather stripping to seal gaps and cracks around doors, windows and outlets.
• Changing behavior saves energy, including: washing clothes in cold water; turning off the dishwasher’s heated-dry option; taking shorter showers and turning off lights and unplugging small appliances and electronics when they are not in use.
• Use energy efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) or Light-Emitting Diode bulbs (LEDs) – they consume 75 per cent less electricity than incandescent bulbs.
For more information, visit www.bchydro.com/powersmart
— Submitted by BC Hydro