Peak demand refers to the times of day when our electricity consumption is at its highest.
Annual peak demand occurs in summer during prolonged heat waves, usually between 4pm and 8pm when most people arrive home and switch on their air conditioners, TVs, lights and other household appliances. Air conditioner use amounts to nearly one third of the power consumed on the hottest days in January, February and March.
The peak demand during winter occurs on very cold weekday evenings when people heat their homes. Winter peak demand is slightly lower than summer peak demand, but has a significant impact in some areas of the network.
Saving electricity during the peak demand period is beneficial to the community and the electricity system.
Supplying electricity for an ever increasing peak demand requires building more electricity infrastructure such as generators and higher capacity powerlines. Ultimately customers pay to build this infrastructure through increases in the price of power even though much of it goes unused for the remainder of the year.
On very hot weekdays the community can help reduce peak demand by limiting use of major appliances between 4pm and 8pm.