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Extreme summer heat in Saskatchewan leads to increased use of air conditioners

As the heat kicks up in Saskatchewan, so does the air conditioning in homes, vehicles, and workspaces.

Local service companies are finding themselves busy during this time of the year. Ed Finlayson, co-owner of Bright Plumbing Heating and Electrical, said they expect more than 100 calls a week. Finlayson said the most common call they receive is the functioning of customers air conditioning systems.

“Probably half of them are just simple little things like the air filter not being changed and it’s now dirty so you don’t have enough airflow. Then their air conditioner freezes up,” said Finlayson.

“Sometimes there’s small leaks on systems where the refrigerants actually leak out, so it no longer has that cooling performance. Things like motors sometimes in furnaces and outdoor units, can fail. Then a bigger repair would be like a compressor on an outdoor unit needing to get replaced.”

As residents crank up their air conditioning systems, the power consumption increases. According to the SaskPower website, on average, one person uses 743 kilowatt hours per household when using air conditioning.

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“We have a power reserve of 317 MW that we can call on to ensure that there’s sufficient power in the system,” said SaskPower CEO Rupen Pandya. “We also encourage all Saskatchewan residents to kind of take measures to reduce the costs on their energy bills.”

SaskPower says they had system control, grid control, and provided some updates to their system. Pandya said reliability in the power system is always a concern for SaskPower.

“When we have temperatures this high, a couple of things typically happen. One. We’ll see the wind drop off and the second is we’ll see the rating of our power plants,” he said. “What that means is that the ambient air temperature is so high that the plants are producing less energy than they typically do. We just plan for that by putting on additional generation.”

As the province continues to go into a heatwave, SaskPower said they will put out memos for residents on reserving power consumption.

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