Record energy usage possible during heat wave in Calgary: City officials

CALGARY — The heat wave forecast for next week could spark record energy usage in Calgary, city officials said Friday.

Temperatures are forecast to reach into the low 30s this weekend and the mid-30 C range through most of next week, which could result in record electricty use, said Calgary Emergency Management Agency (CEMA) Chief Sue Henry.

“Our friends at ENMAX are anticipating that with a forecasted period of prolonged hot weather, Calgary may come close to its previous summer peak for energy consumption, which was 1,692 megawatts, reached in August of 2018,” she said.

“It used to be common for Calgary’s electricity consumption to peak in the winter, but the increasing trend is toward summer peaks as we use more air conditioners and fans to try and cool ourselves.”

Henry adds those planning to be outside should wear sunscreen and dress for the heat, wearing loose-fitting clothing and a wide-brimmed hat if possible.

“If you can avoid working or exercising in the heat and humidity, please do so,” she said. “If it cannot be avoided, be sure to take regular breaks, drink lots of water, maintain salt levels in your body and avoid high protein foods.”

You should also try to stay in the shade as much as possible when outside, said Henry.

To keep homes cool, Henry suggests keeping blinds or curtains closed during the day and opening windows in the evening. Calgarians should also sleep on lower levels of a home or residence if possible.

Water wagons will be deployed throughout the city to provide cool drinking water. Calgarians should bring a reusable container to access that. As well, Henry says 22 seasonal water fountains have been turned on and all functioning water fountains in city parks will be turned on by Friday. Splash parks and pools will also be open.

Calgary Fire Department spokesperson Carol Henke said usage of the Bow and Elbow Rivers is expected to be high and warned against mixing that with drugs or alcohol.

Water usage is also expected to be high, said water treatment manager John Jagorinec.

To help lessen that, grass in the city’s parks will be kept about three inches long, said Jagorinec, which helps retain moisture. Calgarians should also not mow lawns during the heatwave, said Jagorinec and any watering should be done in the early morning or evening hours. 

Rain and cloudy conditions are expected on Thursday, then the forecast for Calgary calls for a high of 26 C on Friday, 28 C on Saturday, 30 C on Sunday and 34 C on Monday.

Hot temperatures are forecast to continue into next weekend.

Overnight temperatures will reach lows of about 15 C to 17 C over that time.

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