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Oshawa Power in good shape despite pandemic

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Overall power usage is down in Oshawa even though more people are at home self-isolating due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Oshawa Power President and CEO Ivano Labricciosa says that even though more people are at home during the pandemic, power usage has seen a net drop of between 10 and 20 percent.

"Yes, people are at home and working and that residential component is up, but what we’re seeing is the industrial and commercial component going down to the point where it’s actually a net decrease," says Labricciosa, adding that even though residential consumption is up, there is no shortage of energy.

With more people at home during the day, Labricciosa notes there has also been a change in the peak hours of usage.

"We used to get a double hump curve with a peak in the morning from about 10 to noon, flattening out during the day and then a peak at night as people get home to turn on their cooking loads," adding that in the summer, the double hump curve turns into a single hump, which starts at about 10 a.m., peaks out in the afternoon when the heat is the highest between 2 and 4 p.m., and then drops off at night as people go home and commercial/industrial closes.

Labricciosa says since the pandemic, even though we haven't hit the summer months, the current energy trend is looking more like that of the summer months with one single curve throughout the day.

The spring and fall months are what Labricciosa says they call the shoulder months - because of the unpredictability in weather, power usage is also more unpredictable, but down in general. While he expects the load to climb in the summer months, "it'll be interesting to see what happens when people start turning on their air conditioners and whether that residential load increase will surpass the industrial/commercial load decrease."

With more people now working from home and students having to complete their schooling online as well, Oshawa Power recognizes the importance of keeping the lights on.

Serving more than 60,000 customers in the city, Oshawa Power continues to operate at full capacity to ensure the reliability and continuity of Oshawa’s electricity supply.

As the province has deemed electrical utility companies an essential service, Labricciosa says staff are doing their part to practice safe social distancing while on the job.

"We pride ourselves on safety," says Labricciosa, adding they have a good safety system and model that works whether it's working with electricity, or dealing with any kind of hazard, which includes COVID-19 and other biohazards.

"Energy is an important thing. We're trying to keep the power going and flowing, we have no concerns about that. We're in good shape."

By Courtney Bachar/The Oshawa Express