That’s a great question, especially given the temperature we’ve experienced over the last few weeks. Just like the road network, our power grid isn’t used the same way all day long. We have actually created a short video on the subject, which we encourage you to watch.
In a nutshell, during certain periods, the network is under a lot of pressure. That’s the case on weekdays between 6 and 9 in the morning and between 4 and 8 at the end of the day.
Because most households in Québec rely on electric heating, the power demand is high in winter, especially during cold snaps.
At around 6 p.m., when large numbers of people turn on their appliances while their heating system is running, electricity consumption skyrockets. When the power required to meet the demand approaches the system’s maximum capacity, there is a winter peak, an exceptionally high demand for electricity at a specific moment in time.
There are easy ways to spread your consumption throughout the day to help reduce the demand for electricity in peak periods:
• Postpone running major appliances (especially dryers and dishwashers) by a few hours.
• Limit the use of hot water as much as possible.
• Lower the thermostat temperature by a degree or two, especially in rooms not in use.
Spreading out the use of your appliances and devices over time and lowering your thermostats will enable the system to meet power demand.
This way, Hydro-Québec avoids having to deploy expensive solutions in order to meet high demand for just a few hours each winter.