With temperatures soaring to the 30 degree Celsius mark on Monday afternoon, air conditioning use hit an alarming high. The city consumed the same amount of power by 3:30 pm as it would normally in a 24 hour period: an estimated 1600 Megawatts.
The extraordinarily high power usage caused the Alberta Electric Systems Operator (AESO) to issue a request to Enmax for the purposeful power brown outs.
â€śThis obviously has a lot to do with the heatâ€ť said Enmax spokesperson Doris Kaufmann.
The AESO also released a statement saying that the intentional â€śbrownoutsâ€ť were necessary due to excessively high demand on the power grid. Though nothing was said as to why they did not issue a public warning before hand. The statement read as follows:
“The Alberta Electric System Operator is asking all Albertans to voluntarily reduce their use of electricity until 6 p.m. this evening. Higher than average temperatures have pushed the demand for electricity in Alberta to record highs and some generation is unable to supply energy to the grid. The hot and humid weather has increased demand for electricity primarily due to the higher use of air conditioning and irrigation systems.â€ť
The brownouts were executed across the city in 30 minute increments, likely in the highest usage areas, as our own shops were not effected, nor were many of our employees homes.
Though not mentioned, the Calgary Stampede also uses a high level of electricity at this time of year, no doubt adding to the stress.
So what can you do to help ease the stress on our power grid?
Try turning off unnecessary lighting and keep your curtains and blinds closed to reduce heat levels indoors. Minimize the use of high power consumption appliances and devices: dishwashers, washer/dryers, and microwaves.
But perhaps one of the most important things to avoid is using your desktop computer. Not only does it consume electricity, but the average home computer can generate as much heat as a small space heater when under load, especially when running video games and high demand programs. So shut it down, get out of the house, and enjoy the weather.
For the time being, the brownouts have ended, but if the demand on the grid becomes an issue again, more could follow. So please, do your part to help mitigate any further problems.