We reported yesterday that Montreal was due to receive the brunt of a polar vortex that was kindly bringing -30 degree weather to Eastern Canada.
Just in time for Igloofest.
And now, apparently Hydro Quebec is asking that people in the province turn down their heat... because their system can't handle it.
TL;DR Hydro Quebec's system is under serious strain as temperatures continue to drop and people's electricity demands continue to rise. Now, they're asking people in Quebec to turn down their heat or use during off-peak hours so that fewer people experience power outages.
I guess this cold snap means that Hydro rates will be going up again this year.— A stake of Holly 🌉 (@rabelazy) January 17, 2019
This cold "snap" is looking like it's going to be more like a cold, cold, round of applause.
The current polar vortex, which consists of frigid air pushed down from the Arctic, will likely linger, keeping temperatures in the -20 region for the foreseeable future.
As a result, some parts of Quebec have seen power failures.
The Montreal Gazette reported that as of 9 AM this morning, around 1,000 people in the Gaspé and Îles-de-la-Madeleine areas experienced a loss of electricity due to the freezing temperatures.
Hydro-Quebec doing us a happy favor at -21°c 🙃 pic.twitter.com/2RRv2LexRC— Marie Ngo (@lamontrealer) January 17, 2019
This is why Hydro Quebec is asking that customers (aka all Quebeckers, because who isn't using Hydro Quebec?!) try to use large appliances and hot water during off-peak hours to minimize the impact on the system.
The worst times of day are reportedly between 6 AM and 9 AM on weekday mornings and 4 PM and 8 PM on weekday evenings.
This, of course, makes sense when you think of the large portion of the population that is likely taking a shower (electricity needed to power the hot water heater) or making breakfast (electricity needed to power the stove/oven/kitchen appliances).
The consumption of electricity this morning in Quebec between 8 and 9 AM was 35,979 megawatts. And when the province is experiencing extreme cold the peak can be as high as 38,000 megawatts.
There have been times when the demand gets so high, Hydro Quebec is required to borrow power from other power grids.
So instead, Hydro Quebec is asking people in Quebec to turn down their heat, take a shorter shower or embrace off-peak hours.