Mercury plunges; power consumption soars

CALGARY, ALBERTA - At 6 p.m. on January 28, Alberta's demand for electricity reached an all time high of 9,710 megawatts (MW), breaking the previous record of 9701 MW set earlier this winter on December 3, 2007.

"The heaviest demand for electricity in Alberta typically occurs during the winter," says Warren Frost, Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) vice-president of Operations and Reliability.

"A prolonged cold snap, reduced daylight hours and increased lighting are all factors that combine to push demand to record levels."

The AESO's system controllers monitor the electricity grid 24 hours per day, seven days per week, working collaboratively with transmission facility owners and power generation owners to ensure that even during times of high demand, contingency plans are in place and reserves available to meet the electricity demands of all Albertans.

Electricity consumption in Alberta has grown by 29% since 2000 with a year over year average load growth of 3.2% each year for the last five years. The AESO estimates an additional 5000 MW of electricity supply by 2017 and 11,500 MW by 2027 will be required to meet the growing electricity demands of Albertans.



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