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More Edmontonians Turn to Air Conditioning as Heat Wave Hits

More Edmontonians Turn to Air Conditioning as Heat Wave Hits
More Edmontonians Turn to Air Conditioning as Heat Wave Hits

With Edmonton in the throes of a heat wave, people are turning to their air conditioners full-time. That’s good news for HVAC specialists, who say they’ve been planning for this day for months.

“It’s something we prepare for all year long, so we’re talking about the first heat wave that happened back in January,” said Joe Kilcup, an installation manager.

Be careful what you wish for: While most people dream of soaring temperatures in the dead of winter, Kilcup says his company is planning for what they call the most lucrative time of year, even in cold and snowy Edmonton.

But as more people switch to air conditioning, the pressure on our electricity grid increases.

Edmonton energy supplier EPCOR warned Edmonton residents online Monday that rising temperatures could lead to unexpected power outages.

However, they clarified that the Sunday night power outage, which affected 15,000 people in south Edmonton, was due to problems with a substation and not the heat.

Kilcup says he’s been getting more and more requests for air conditioners in his 25-year career. He says Edmonton is seeing more and more of these summer days.

“Early in my career, air conditioning was not considered essential by many people at all. The other thing is that houses are built much better, they retain heat much better. So they retain heat in the winter, but with the sun’s heat, they don’t give that heat off — they don’t breathe like the old houses did,” he explained.

The Alberta Electric System Operator (ASEO) has issued grid alerts in the past asking consumers to reduce their power consumption. The most recent, in the spring, were forced rolling blackouts.

But since then, AESO says work has been done to increase baseload capacity and provincial government reforms in the electricity market around pricing and supply.