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B.C.'s eased COVID-19 rules could mean a surge in electricity use this holiday season

Hydro company says there was a 4% decrease in electricity load last Christmas
BC Hydro expects higher electricity usage this holiday season compared to 2020.

A newly released report from BC Hydro says it expects an electricity load increase this holiday season compared to 2020. 

The company says electricity loads dropped last year on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, which they attribute to tighter COVID-19 restrictions. 

During the evening on Christmas Day, there was more than a 4% drop. On Boxing Day, a drop of more than 8% was recorded, according to the report titled "Hosting the Holidays: How a return to entertaining could mean increasing electricity this holiday season," in which 800 British Columbians participated in an online survey conducted by Majid Khoury from Nov. 19 to 21, 2021.

But this year, BC Hydro is expecting a rebound. 

The report claims 97% of British Columbians plan on getting together with family and friends in person this holiday season, with 44% saying they plan to cook a large holiday meal. 

Data also shows 37% of British Columbians will be hosting more gatherings while 43% will be attending more.

"BC Hydro data shows the overall residential electricity load dropped significantly on Christmas Day and Boxing Day in 2020, especially between 4 and 10 p.m.," company spokesperson Kevin Aquino said in a news release. 

"We feel this can directly be attributed to less gatherings last year with family and friends, which would typically take place in the evening hours on these holidays." 

Another cause of electrical power surges is Christmas decorations. 

BC Hydro says 14% will be decorating more outdoors, while 22% will be decorating more indoors.

Another 13% plan to decorate with multiple plug-in electronic decorations and 51% will be putting up outdoor lights, with most planning to put up at least three to five strings.