What to do during a peak demand event

Generally speaking, you can follow our energy efficiency tips to save electricity. But please note that during peak demand events, different measures may apply.

Essentials

Electric heating

Potential savings: $$$$
  • Turn down all your thermostats, including those on auxiliary heaters, by 1°C to 4°C at the start of a peak demand event. When you lower the temperature, your heating system turns off. The lower you set the temperature, the longer it stays off.
  • Reset the thermostats to their usual temperature at the end of the peak demand event if a second event is expected later in the day.

Do you usually turn down the temperature overnight or during the day?

Don’t do it before a peak demand event, because you’d then have to turn the temperature back up in the morning or evening, right in the middle of an event—and you should definitely avoid doing that. But when there’s no peak demand event, carry on as usual.

Warning: If your heating system has trouble maintaining a normal room temperature (20°C to 21°C) in cold weather, this tip is not recommended for you. Keep in mind that the amount of time it takes to get back to the regular temperature after turning down the thermostat depends on how powerful your heating system is.

Electric heating

Potential savings: $$$$
  • Turn down all your thermostats, including those on auxiliary heaters, by 1°C to 4°C at the start of a peak demand event. When you lower the temperature, your heating system turns off. The lower you set the temperature, the longer it stays off.
  • Reset the thermostats to their usual temperature at the end of the peak demand event if a second event is expected later in the day.

Do you usually turn down the temperature overnight or during the day?

Don’t do it before a peak demand event, because you’d then have to turn the temperature back up in the morning or evening, right in the middle of an event—and you should definitely avoid doing that. But when there’s no peak demand event, carry on as usual.

Warning: If your heating system has trouble maintaining a normal room temperature (20°C to 21°C) in cold weather, this tip is not recommended for you. Keep in mind that the amount of time it takes to get back to the regular temperature after turning down the thermostat depends on how powerful your heating system is.

Hot water

Potential savings: $$
  • When a peak demand event is scheduled for the morning, it’s best to take showers or baths either the night before or else after the event, whenever possible, to maximize savings.
  • When the event is expected at the end of the day, it’s best to take showers or baths after 8 p.m.
  • Avoid washing dishes (in the dishwasher or by hand) and doing laundry with hot water.

Warning: The water heater will continue to run for a while (up to two hours to heat a full tank) to keep the water at the set temperature. That’s why it’s better to postpone the use of hot water until after a peak demand event.

Hot water

Potential savings: $$
  • When a peak demand event is scheduled for the morning, it’s best to take showers or baths either the night before or else after the event, whenever possible, to maximize savings.
  • When the event is expected at the end of the day, it’s best to take showers or baths after 8 p.m.
  • Avoid washing dishes (in the dishwasher or by hand) and doing laundry with hot water.

Warning: The water heater will continue to run for a while (up to two hours to heat a full tank) to keep the water at the set temperature. That’s why it’s better to postpone the use of hot water until after a peak demand event.

Appliances and other devices

Potential savings: $$
  • Reduce or postpone the use of nonessential appliances like the clothes dryer.
  • Turn off or temporarily unplug all unnecessary electrical equipment and electronics (cooking appliances, outdoor lighting, computers, etc.).

Appliances and other devices

Potential savings: $$
  • Reduce or postpone the use of nonessential appliances like the clothes dryer.
  • Turn off or temporarily unplug all unnecessary electrical equipment and electronics (cooking appliances, outdoor lighting, computers, etc.).

Other things you can do

Air exchanger

Be sure your air exchanger isn’t in exchange mode during peak demand events. Stopping the air exchange for a short time usually has little effect on indoor air quality.

Spa (hot tub)

If you use your spa in winter, turn down the water temperature setting during peak demand events. See the manufacturer’s instructions to find out how low you can set it.

Electric vehicle

Don’t recharge your electric vehicle during peak demand events. If your vehicle charged completely overnight, you don’t need to unplug it in the morning.

The amount of time and electricity needed to charge a vehicle can vary a great deal, depending on the charger and the battery capacity. Some vehicles can be programmed to charge at a specific time, and some charging stations can be programmed to charge during a specific period. Plan to charge your electric vehicle outside of peak demand events whenever possible.

Greater comfort

Use a fuel-burning auxiliary heating system.

You can use your fuel-burning (oil, propane, natural gas or wood pellets) auxiliary heating system during peak demand events to stay comfortable while relying less on your electric heating.

Preheat your home ahead of a peak demand event.

Turning up all the thermostats 1°C to 3°C about two hours before a peak demand event will keep you comfortable during the event. But don’t forget to set the temperature a few degrees lower than usual when the event starts, depending on how much electricity you want to save. Residual heat will keep the temperature pleasant during the event, even though you’ve lowered the thermostat.

Tip: Some thermostat models have an “early on” option that lets you program the time you want to have the desired temperature, rather than the time the temperature should start to rise. In that way, your heating system will have stopped running by the time the event begins.

Frequently asked question

Should I get a smart thermostat?

Although they aren’t necessary, smart thermostats make it easier to control heating during peak demand events.

Tools and useful information

You can see your home’s hour‑by‑hour electricity use in My Consumption Profile. Look at your electricity use on really cold days, from 6 to 9 a.m. and from 4 to 8 p.m., then compare that to the same times on milder days.

See My Consumption Profile

Electric heating accounts for the bulk of a home’s electricity use, especially in cold weather. If you don’t use electric heating much or at all, dynamic pricing offers less in the way of potential savings for you.

See breakdown of electricy use according to main uses