The extreme cold last weekend saw furnaces throughout the province running almost seemingly non-stop, as the temperatures plunged to the -40s overnight, and the –30s during the day. The demand for natural gas for the furnaces would see a new record set, according to SaskEnergy. 

The Crown natural gas utility reported the peak demand came last Friday when the consumption rate was 1.7 petajoules per day. This surpassed the previous record of 1.65 PJ/d set back on January 6th, 2022.  

The high demand didn’t stop there. Last Saturday, when the daytime high in Weyburn didn’t get past -34.3°, the province-wide usage was 1.68 PJ/d. The usage on Sunday peaked at 1.66 PJ/d. Both of those instances exceeded the previous record.  

“At SaskEnergy we anticipate higher usage of natural gas in the colder periods of the year,” says Mark Guillet, President and CEO of SaskEnergy. “With a 99.998 percent reliability, our system is designed with inventory and capacity to safely provide natural gas to our customers 24 hours a day.” 

A petajoule is a unit of measurement equivalent to one million gigajoules of energy. As a reference of scale, the average home in Saskatchewan consumes around 100 GJ of natural gas in an entire year.  

While the cold snap is over, it may not be the only one that we see this winter. With that in mind, SaskEnergy is offering some safety reminders to customers. These include making sure exterior vents are free of frost, ice, and snow. Blocked vents can lead to a buildup of carbon monoxide. Also, keep the natural gas meter free of snow and ice, including the meter’s regulator and shut-off valve. The third tip offered by SaskEnergy is to have the furnace inspected every year, as regular maintenance can ensure a furnace is working properly, providing peace of mind when the cold snaps hit.