B.C.'s Earth Hour leaders live on Vancouver Island

BC Hydro estimates that, last year, B.C. saved 136 megawatt hours of electricity — or just about 2 per cent of regular consumption at that time — with Comox, Courtenay, North Saanich, Sidney, Qualicum, Parksville, Campbell River and Sayward leading the way.

Vancouver was 2013 'Global Earth Hour Capital' but participation rate was better across the strait

A candle burns on the Stanley Park seawall during Earth Hour in Vancouver, B.C., in 2012. Vancouver was named Global Earth Hour Capital last year, but communities on Vancouver Island had the greatest rates of Earth Hour energy savings in the province, according to BC Hydro. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

Environmentally-conscious citizens around the world have been switching off their lights today in order to take part in the eighth annual power-down known as Earth Hour.

The World Wildlife Fund's annual campaign to have people turn off their lights and other powered devices takes place from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. in local time zones.

Last year, the city of Vancouver was dubbed the 'Global Earth Hour Capital,' but BC Hydro spokesman Ted Olynyk said it was communities on Vancouver Island that led the way.

BC Hydro estimates that last year B.C. saved 136 megawatt hours of electricity — or just about 2 per cent of regular consumption at that time — with Comox, Courtenay, North Saanich, Sidney, Qualicum, Parksville, Campbell River and Sayward leading the way.

Those Vancouver Island communities registered above 8 per cent savings.

"All but two of the top 26 communities were from Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast, and the Comox area had almost a 10 per cent reduction [in power used]," Olynyk said.

The mayor of Comox at first joked about his community's achievement.

"Maybe there was no Canucks game on that night," Paul Ives told CBC News.

But Ives thinks one reason so many locals took part may be that they know where their hydro power comes from.

"Because we get our electricity from the [Puntledge] river and people are always talking about the hydro dam, and in dry periods our power generation is down, and maybe we have a more direct connection to it," he said.

BC Hydro says many customers with smart meters will be able to log on to "MyHydro" to check how much power they save during Earth Hour — after 9:30 p.m., that is.


What do you think of Earth Hour?

Tell us in the comments below, and let us know if you've ever taken part.

With files from the CBC's Lisa Cordasco

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