Manitoba has the power, and Manitobans aren’t afraid to use it.
According to Manitoba Hydro, the province used more power than ever before during the late-December cold snap.
We peaked at a usage of 4,547 megawatts on Dec. 23, when temperatures plunged to a low of -38.2 C in Brandon. That was the coldest temperature recorded in this city in almost a decade.
Power usage may have spiked again at the very end of the month, as it got even colder early in the morning of Dec. 31.
But a Hydro spokesperson says that record-setting power usage is only partly due to cold temperatures that send everyone scrambling for their heaters. It’s also because there are simply more people here.
“In perspective, this is not startling,” spokesman Glenn Schneider said last week. “We usually set new consumption records year over year, as population continues to grow.”
In fact, he noted, the previous record only dated from last January.
Manitoba Hydro’s total electric power generating capacity is 5,481 MW with 4,998 MW coming from its hydroelectric generating stations on the Winnipeg River and the province's north. Brandon’s natural gas-fired plant also contributes when power need is high.
We’re glad that, despite last month’s record-setting cold, the power needed to warm us up is just a twist of the thermostat away.
But it also wouldn’t hurt to put on a sweater.