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What is peak power?

January 19 2016, 09:21 AM

What is peak power?

Have you seen the video we made of New Brunswick kids talking about electricity and peak power?  If you missed it, watch it here.

So what is peak exactly?

Put simply, it’s the highest one-hour load requirement on our power grid during a 24-hour period.

New Brunswick faces peak electricity issues during the historically coldest months of the year – January and February.

On these mornings, New Brunswickers turn up their heat, use hot water, turn on lights and use their appliances all at the same time, usually between 6 and 9 a.m. on weekdays. The colder it is outside, the more electricity we use to keep our homes and businesses warm. The same thing happens in the evening when everyone gets home from school and work between 4 and 8 pm.

This activity causes a peak in energy use and means that NB Power must rely on fossil fuel generation to meet the demand or buy the electricity on the open market at higher rates. 

For example, a cold January day might create a peak system demand of 3,000 Megawatts of energy. Compare that to a summer morning when New Brunswickers use only half that and it's easy to see the impact on our system.

As New Brunswickers we’re all invested in the future of our province. By making small changes to our behaviour, we can collectively smooth out the peaks. That means a smaller environmental footprint and low, stable rates for New Brunswickers.

What can you do?

  • Lower the temperature in unoccupied rooms, you’ll save electricity and money.
  • Take shorter showers, or shower before bed.
  • If your dishwasher or clothes washer has a time-delay function, use it to delay start times or manually start them after 8 a.m. or 8 p.m.


What are some of the things you’d do to help Beat the Peak this winter?


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