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Saskatchewan breaks natural gas usage record twice in three days

The extreme cold in Saskatchewan over the last week has caused the province’s natural gas usage record to be broken twice over Christmas week.

Sask Energy looks at consumption over a 24 hour period, from 9 A.M. to 9 A.M and includes residential, industrial and commercial properties. Saskatchewan set a new record on December 26th, using 1.43 petajoules, or 1.43 million gigajoules of natural gas on that day. Three days later on December 29th the all time record usage was broken again, using 1.5 petajoules, or 1.5 Million gigajoules.

Sask Energy Senior Communications Officer Casey MacLeod says the company had no system issues throughout the high usage period.

“We do design our system to accommodate 30 year average winters including the coldest ones. So we do have additional capacity on our system above what was used even though it was a peak record for us.”

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Macleod adds that Sask Energy buys much of their natural gas in the summer so that they are prepared for increased demand from extreme cold or increased population.

While the cold is setting energy records, the increased usage will also have many people digging deep into their wallets. Macleod says there’s actions Lloydminster residents can take to reduce natural gas costs.

“Just make sure your furnaces are maintained properly. That can go a long way to increasing the efficiency of how they run which can save you energy dollars. Change the filter out every month or two. There’s even little things like checking the weather stripping around your door, making sure your windows are sealed properly.”

Other things residents should be aware of from increased natural gas consumption is carbon monoxide. Macleod says they do see an increase in calls about carbon monoxide poisoning in the heating season.

“When we have snow load on roofs of homes and businesses and things like that, when there are periods of freeze and thaws it can drip down off the roof. When it freezes it can sometimes cover external venting from your furnace so that’s a big thing it watch out for.”

Macleod also recommends getting a carbon monoxide detector and making sure it is fully functional and to have your furnace checked before the peak season to make sure it is running correctly.

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