Alberta broke a record on Tuesday, which was broken again on Wednesday, reaching an all-time summer peak in power usage.

According to the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO), 11,820 megawatts were used on Tuesday and 12,122 megawatts were used yesterday. The previous summer record was 11,721 megawatts, a record set back on June 29, 2021.

"We have adequate generation forecasted for the next several days. That being said, our System Controllers remain alert, as always, to the ever-changing environment, and are prepared to respond if needed," stated AESO on Tuesday.

AESO system controllers are managing this current heat wave in partnership with the industry. They are asking for help from residents to help conserve power while the heatwave is happening.

"All Albertans can play a role by minimizing electricity use from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. when we expect the highest demand each day. In addition to helping conserve energy during this peak period, Albertans can also take action throughout the day by closing window coverings, lowering thermostats to pre-cool homes, avoiding using major appliances and charging electric devices."

According to AESO, grid alerts can be triggered by different factors that affect power generation and electricity demand, to avoid future alerts and potential rolling blackouts such as:

  • Extremely cold or hot weather, which drives increased use of heating or air conditioning systems
  • Time of day and wind conditions, which impact the availability of solar and wind-generated energy
  • Unplanned generation facility outages
  • Other factors beyond transmission and generation facility owners’ control, such as lightning, downed power lines, etc.

On Monday at 8:25 p.m., the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) declared a grid alert. System conditions returned to normal due to a drop in demand just over an hour later. The Grid Alert ended the same day at 9:34 p.m.

"An unplanned thermal generation outage, high temperatures causing a reduction in some generator capability, and a line outage that impacted import capability contributed to the supply shortfall that caused the alert," stated AESO.

Monday was an example of an alert with tight supply conditions, but no imminent load shed. The demand peak on July 8 was 11,599 megawatts (MW).