Submitted by BC Hydro

A new BC Hydro report found while residential power usage remains average, COVID-19 has changed British Columbians’ daily routines so every day feels like Saturday.

The report titled, “Powering the new normal: How COVID-19 has changed British Columbians’ daily habits and electricity use” finds since mid-March, nearly 90 per cent of British Columbians have drastically shifted their daily routines, including nearly 40 per cent that are working at home five days a week.

While overall residential electricity use is at normal levels for this time of year, BC Hydro data shows the changes to British Columbians’ daily habits has resulted in weekday electricity use peaking later in the morning and earlier in the evening, and now more closely resembles typical weekend patterns.

The report included a survey[1] which found with no commute for many, nearly 40 per cent of British Columbians are waking up later on weekdays and of those over 60 per cent are waking up more than an hour later than they normally would. Waking up later means a delayed start to the daily grind – nearly 45 per cent of British Columbians said they are eating breakfast at a later time, and 24 per cent said they are showering less often and for shorter periods of time in the morning than they used to, contributing to the later morning peak in electricity use.

The survey also found that being home on weekdays has changed the frequency and timing of cooking, contributing to an earlier evening electricity peak. Almost half of those surveyed said they are cooking more now than they were pre-pandemic, and almost a quarter are making dinner earlier these days. In addition, around 40 per cent are baking more.

With limited opportunities for entertainment outside of the home, British Columbians are turning to traditional television or streaming. The survey found around 60 per cent are watching more than they were pre-pandemic – with 15 per cent watching more during the day on weekdays. Increased TV time might also be delaying bedtime – 30 per cent of those surveyed are going to bed later – and of those, nearly 80 per cent are going to bed more than an hour later than they used to.

For customers looking to save energy and money, BC Hydro recommends:
“· Using a laptop instead of a desktop which uses 80 per cent less electricity.
“· Cooking with smaller appliances, such as multi-use pressure cookers, microwaves and toaster ovens that use up to 75 per cent less energy than a large electric oven.
“· Streaming movies or TV shows on a device like a smart TV instead of a game console as it uses 40 per cent less electricity.
“· Tracking electricity use with MyHydro to see how at-home activities impact a household’s electricity use.