12/01/2014 06:39 EST | Updated 01/31/2015 05:59 EST

BC Hydro expects near-record electricity demand due to cold snap

The cold snap across B.C. is leading to surging electricity demand, which BC Hydro expects will reach or break the province's all-time record.

BC Hydro is preparing for demand to reach about 10,100 megawatts this Monday — a 17 per cent increase over the same time last week.

The highest demand ever recorded in B.C. was between 5 and 6 p.m. PT on Nov. 26, 2009, when consumption reached 10,113 megawatts.

Weekday evenings between 4 and 8 p.m. tend to have the greatest draw on power, according to BC Hydro.

"[That's] the time of day when people come home, turn up the heat, do their laundry, make dinner, and switch on the TV," says spokesperson Mora Scott.

To help save power during the cold weather, BC Hydro suggests residents:

- wash clothes in cold water

- turn off the "heat dry" function on the dishwasher

- use a programmable thermostat to limit unnecessary home heating