June 12th, 2024

Summer temperatures peaking power usage

By Gillian Slade on August 2, 2018.


As the summer heat increases during the day, so has power consumption.

On Monday morning the peak customer load was about 130 megawatts ,and by the afternoon had increased to 194.5, says Travis Tuchscherer, the city’s manager of asset optimization.

“Our peak is usually around suppertime, around 5 o’clock,” said Tuchscherer.

That’s when most people are fixing something for supper and also tend to turn the air conditioner on.

“When we see three to four consecutive days of hot weather that ‘s when we typically see the system peak,” said Jaret Dickie, manager of utilities business support.

The numbers reflect what would typically be seen during summer in Medicine Hat, taking into account the higher customer base that exists now compared to other years, said Dickie. That enhanced customer base is putting an increased demand on the supply of power.

“But as far as the weather goes, and from our baseload customer perspective, there hasn’t been anything out of the ordinary,” said Dickie.

Medicine Hat’s milder climate sets it apart from the rest of the province.

Medicine Hat typically sees peak demand in the summer while most of Alberta experiences a peak in winter. Winters tend to be slightly warmer than the rest of the Alberta and there is more sunshine, said Dickie.

The power outage last Friday in the Ross Glen area was not related in anyway to the hot weather and/or people using air conditioners.

It was due to an underground cable fault that occurred in the back ally along Dunmore Road close to the A&W, said Tuchscherer.

The cables in the Ross Glen area would have been installed when the subdivision was built. Tuchscherer says the cables are about three or four feet below the surface and are also covered in a protective sheath.

“As with anything, age is a factor and certainly the likelihood of failure increases and they do monitor that. They do have an asset management plan in place to address (this) especially if there are recurring incidents, outages,” said Tuchscherer.

The city is in the process of replacing electrical cables in numerous areas.

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