What To Expect When You're Expecting: BC Hydro's tips on how to prepare for a power outage
Vancouver's wintry weather might be slowing down commutes, but, according to BC Hydro press release, there might be a bigger problem to worry about: a blackout, like in Richmond on Wednesday afternoon.
Power outages are more likely to happen during a cold snap, according to the organization's press release, as heavy snow often causes tree branches to snap. This is more common in B.C., as there is three times the number of trees per kilometre of power line compared to any other utility in North America.
BC Hydro doesn't want to keep you in the dark. Before you're put out by a power cut, here are some tips on how you can help lessen the pressure on the electrical grid from BC Hydro press release:
- Timing is everything: 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 and safety: 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 the cold out and the heat in: 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: 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.
- Draftproof your home: 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.
- Switch it up; do things differently: 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.
- Choose inexpensive, energy smart lighting: Use energy efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) or Light-Emitting Diode bulbs (LEDs) – they consume 75 per cent less electricity than incandescent bulbs.
If there's a power outage, here are some suggestions:
- Have a plan and an emergency kit and flashlights ready, a battery operated radio, warm clothing and blankets and a corded telephone, so you’re not twitching in the cold.
- Help conserve energy and stay warm. The power demand peaks at suppertime.
Once smart meters are in place across the province, they will report power outages instantly allowing a faster restoration of power.
To report an outage call 1-888-POWERON or *HYDRO on your mobile phone.
For more information, go here.