British Columbia

Earth Hour B.C.: residents flip the switch for electricity savings, halts on climate change

Hydro customers in B.C. managed to turn off enough lights to save 24 megawatt hours of electricity, which is an improvement over 2015's 15 megawatt hours.

Electricity savings in 2017 an improvement after all-time low in 2015 says BC Hydro

BC Hydro says lighting can make up 15 per cent of power use in residences. (GP Mendoza/CBC)

BC Hydro says British Columbians saved 24 megawatt hours of electricity and reduced the provincial electricity load by 0.3 per cent during Earth Hour Saturday night — the equivalent of turning off about 1.1 million LED lightbulbs.

Earth Hour is a global event, which was started by the World Wildlife Fund in Australia in 2007. It asks residents to turn off lights and electronics at 8:30 p.m. for one hour to visually show support for measures to halt climate change.

British Columbia began participating in 2008, with BC Hydro measuring electricity saved during the hour.

It hit a record savings in megawatt hours in 2013 with 136 megawatt hours saved.

However, since then, the numbers have been lower with only 15 megawatt hours saved in 2015.

Not about energy savings: WWF

There is no electricity data available from BC Hydro for 2016 because the World Wildlife Fund, which originated the event, moved Earth Hour to an earlier date in March.

It also says that Earth Hour has never been about reducing electricity consumption and that electricity data provided by utilities is not a valid way to measure Earth Hour participation.

For example the WWF says, the adoption of energy-saving light bulbs and different weather conditions would impact megawatt hours saved between years.

BC Hydro agrees that Earth Hour is a symbolic event, but says it still offers a significant opportunity to talk about energy conservation.

Earth Hour electricity savings by year according to BC Hydro:

2017: 24 megawatt hours
2016: No data available due to date change
2015: 15 megawatt hours
2014: 65 megawatt hours
2013: 136 megawatt hours
2012: 121 megawatt hours
2011: 117 megawatt hours
2010: 64.6 megawatt hours
2009: 72.67 megawatt hours
2008: 125 megawatt hours

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