Credits: MIKE DREW/QMI AGENCY
Albertans are being asked to reduce electric consumption, especially at peak hours, following rolling power outages in Calgary and other parts of Alberta.
The mercury rose to 30 C and pushed demand on the province's electrical system to record highs, said a news release from the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO).
The first heat wave of the season has increased demand for electricity, primarily due to the higher use of air conditioning and irrigation systems.
Doris Kaufmann, a spokeswoman for city-owned utility Enmax, said 30-minute rolling power outages were experienced across the city, but critical infrastructure such as hospitals and Stampede Park were spared.
Normal operations were restored just before residents headed home in the early evening but AESO, which regulates electricity supply and demand, cautioned users to limit consumption.
"Even though we're OK for now and there are no outages at the moment, we're not quite out of the woods yet," Kaufmann said.
Kaufmann said Calgarians need to be conscious about how much electricity they're using when it is particularly hot.
"On a hot day, the draw on power when you're using air conditioning units can be quite substantial," she said.
AESO is asking citizens to turn off unnecessary lights and electrical appliances, and minimize the use of air conditioning by closing blinds, shades or drapes during the hottest parts of the day.
People are also being asked to avoid the use of major power-consuming appliances such as dishwashers and laundry machines during the energy conservation period, which hits its peak around 6 p.m.
Although Calgary didn't break its previous record of consumption of 1,632 megawatts, at one point the highest demand load reached 1,620 megawatts.
Dave Walton, director of home ideas for Direct Energy, said Albertans should maintain their air conditioners regularly to ensure no power is wasted.
"A lot of homeowners have the attitude 'if it's not broken don't fix it' towards their air conditioning unit," he said.
"Scheduled maintenance will allow it to run more efficiently and help save homeowners money on their energy bills."
Walton also said air conditioning units older than 12 years are a lot less energy efficient and should be replaced to save on cooling costs.
Environment Canada is forecasting an even hotter Tuesday at 31 C.