Nanaimo increases Earth Hour energy use

British Columbians doubled their energy savings this year during Earth Hour over last year's event, but Nanaimo didn't contribute to those savings.

British Columbians doubled their energy savings this year during Earth Hour over last year’s event, but Nanaimo didn’t contribute to those savings.

B.C. Hydro indicates the Harbour City increased its energy use 0.32 per cent over Earth Hour 2010, which took place from 8:30-9:30 p.m. Saturday, while 67 other municipalities managed to reduce consumption.

In four years of the event, Nanaimo only reduced its energy consumption once when it cut use by 1.5 per cent in 2010.

Overall, B.C. residents and businesses saved 117 megawatt hours of electricity and reduced the electricity load by 1.8 per cent during Saturday’s Earth Hour, the equivalent of turning off about 7.8 million 15-watt compact fluorescent light bulbs.

Pitt Meadows led the province with a 5.7-per cent reduction, followed by Tumbler Ridge with 4.95 per cent. Last year, communities provincewide saved 64 megawatt hours and reduced the electricity load by 1.04 per cent.

Lisa Coltart, executive director of B.C. Hydro’s Power Smart program, said the event proves B.C. residents can make a difference.

“We encourage our customers to think about how to live a little bit of Earth Hour every day and we will continue to support them with Power Smart tools and resources to help achieve this goal,” she said in a press release.

Earth Hour is an annual event hosted by the World Wildlife Fund and supported in B.C by B.C. Hydro. The goal of the event is to encourage people to turn off unnecessary light and electronics in an effort to conserve power.

B.C. Hydro estimates that if the province saw similar energy saving efforts from its customers for an hour every night, enough energy would be saved to power 4,000 homes for a full year.