British Columbians’ energy use soars on Christmas Day: report

B.C. residents used the energy equivalent of cooking 1.5 million turkeys on Christmas Day last year, according to a B.C. Hydro holiday report.

The report, “Hosts use the most: British Columbians cooking up higher holiday electricity bills,” found that hosting that big family dinner and all the preparation that leads up to it causes energy use to soar.

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Residents used 8,000 megawatt hours more electricity by midday on Dec. 25, 2018 than the same day the previous week, or a 15 per cent increase in electricity. Energy use also spiked by 13 per cent on Boxing Day, according to the report.

Cooking a turkey typically takes about four hours and uses about eight kilowatt hours of electricity, the report says, which is almost enough to power an office air conditioning unit for two days.

A survey commissioned for B.C. Hydro, and included in the report, found 95 per cent of British Columbians plan to have meals with family or friends over the holidays and will prepare meals at home.

More than 60 per cent said they planned to bake their own holiday treats rather than buying them in a store.

A surprising 13 per cent said they planned to serve their guests takeout, while close to 20 per cent said they are concerned about the amount of heat, hot water and electricity used over the holidays.

A majority (62 per cent) of British Columbians said they would opt to turn up the heat if their guests were cold, rather than asking them to put on an extra layer of clothing to warm up.

The online survey of 800 British Columbian adults was conducted by Majid Khoury between Sept. 27 and Oct. 1. No margin of error was provided.

B.C. Hydro provides tips in the report to help hosts keep their energy costs down while entertaining. Among them are use a microwave or toaster oven whenever possible because they use less energy, do holiday baking in batches, keep the thermostat to 18 C when guests arrive, and track energy use on the MyHydro app.

Other tips include using energy-efficient LED lights to decorate and turning down the heat in the home while baking goodies in the oven.

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