Earth Hour power savings nearly double this year

Pitt Meadows leads B.C., West Van worst in region



B.C. cut electricity consumption by 1.8 per cent during Earth Hour Saturday evening, and Pitt Meadows topped the province with a 5.7 per cent reduction.

B.C. Hydro officials said they were pleased by the response to the hour of conservation for climate change awareness, now in its fourth year here.

Province-wide, 117 megawatt hours of electricity were saved as many residents switched off lights, TVs and other appliances and instead lit candles or went for a walk.

The reduction was nearly twice as much as in 2010, when a 1.04 per cent cut was measured, and equivalent to turning off 7.8 million 15-watt compact fluorescent bulbs.

Maple Ridge was the second-best Metro Vancouver city in the Earth Hour rankings, with a 3.9 per cent power saving.

It was followed by Port Coquitlam at three per cent, North Vancouver City at 2.85 per cent and Coquitlam, Mission and North Vancouver District all at 2.25 per cent.

The region’s worst performers were West Vancouver at just 0.51 per cent, Burnaby at 0.89 per cent and Langley City at 0.99 per cent.

Vancouver and Surrey were tied at 1.5 per cent, while Richmond and Abbotsford were slightly better at 1.65 per cent.

The lights barely dimmed at all during Earth Hour in West Kelowna and Williams Lake, where the saving was just 0.11 per cent.

“We encourage our customers to think about how to live a little bit of Earth Hour every day,” said Lisa Coltart, B.C. Hydro’s executive director of Power Smart and customer care.

Not everyone was impressed.

Residents in various Metro Vancouver cities took to Twitter to complain of “dismal” Earth Hour participation in their neighbourhoods.

Others argued the exercise is misguided, particularly in B.C., because burning candles releases more carbon that hydroelectric power.

Power conservation is important for the province, as it’s a key plank in B.C. Hydro’s plan to keep pace with rising demand.

Even so, the Crown corporation has applied for rate increases of as much as 50 per cent over the three years to fund $6 billion worth of infrastructure upgrades and expand its green energy supply.

Sixty minutes of Earth Hour-style conservation every day would save enough electricity to power 4,000 homes for an entire year, Coltart said.