Ontario’s electricity demand reached more than 26,000 MW late Monday afternoon, breaking the previous record of 25,414 MW set on August 13th, 2002. Because the province’s fleet of coal, nuclear, gas and hydroelectric generators is capable of producing only about 25,000 MW of electricity, Ontario had to import U.S. power and implement rolling blackouts. Ottawa Hydro was forced to implement rotating blackouts from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. to deal with a demand surge, leaving as many as 7,300 homes in Ottawa without power.
Because Tuesday’s demand for electricity is expected to reach or exceed Monday’s record levels, consumers and businesses are being asked to reduce their electricity consumption, where possible, between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. to avoid more rotating blackouts.
The power shortage comes as Ontario’s Hydro One workers threaten to strain the system even more by preventing power plant workers from performing their jobs. Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty hasn’t ruled out the possibility of back-to-work legislation if necessary to protect the province’s electricity supply.