PoCo tops in trimming power
Port Coquitlam led Tri-City municipalities in the effort to reduce power consumption as part of Earth Hour Saturday night, cracking the top 10 province-wide with a 3% energy savings.
PoCo was the third highest ranked Lower Mainland city, behind Pitt Meadows, which topped the province with a 5.7% reduction and Maple Ridge with 3.9%.
Anmore and Belcarra also ranked high, each with a 2.7% energy savings, while Coquitlam (2.25%) and Port Moody (2.1%) were in the middle of the pack.
BC 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 1.8% province-wide reduction was nearly twice as much as in 2010, when a 1.04% cut was measured, and equivalent to turning off 7.8 million 15-watt compact fluorescent bulbs.
The region’s worst performers were West Vancouver (0.51%), Burnaby (0.89%) and Langley City (0.99%). Vancouver and Surrey were tied at 1.5% while Richmond and Abbotsford were slightly better at 1.65%.
The lights barely dimmed at all during Earth Hour in West Kelowna and Williams Lake, where the saving was just 0.11%.
“We encourage our customers to think about how to live a little bit of Earth Hour every day,” said Lisa Coltart, BC Hydro’s executive director of Power Smart and customer care.
Sixty minutes of Earth Hour-style conservation every day would save enough electricity to power 4,000 homes for an entire year, Coltart said.
Not everyone was impressed with Saturday’s event, though.
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 than production of hydroelectric power.
Power conservation is important for the province as it’s a key plank in BC Hydro’s plan to keep pace with rising demand.
Even so, the Crown corporation has applied for rate increases of as much as 5% over the next three years to fund $6 billion worth of infrastructure upgrades and expand its green energy supply.