SA saves 629 MW during Earth Hour

25 March 2013

South Africans achieved a massive 629 MW reduction in their electricity usage during this year’s Earth Hour on Saturday, says Eskom.

“As part of its support for the Earth Hour campaign, Eskom measured the reduction in electricity used during the hour (between 8.30pm and 9.30pm) against typical consumption for this time on an average Saturday evening,” the power utility said in a statement on Sunday.

Eskom had also switched off non-essential lighting at all its offices around the country, except at strategic facilities for security reasons.

Earth Hour started in Sydney, Australia in 2007, when 2.2-million people and more than 2 000 businesses turned their lights off for one hour to take a stand against climate change. Support for the initiative has increased each year.

Last year, Eskom measured an estimated reduction of approximately 402 MW during the hour-long campaign – enough electricity to power the city of Bloemfontein.

This year’s figure suggests that more and more South Africans are seeing the value of switching off what they are not using.

Eskom’s support is in line with the 49M energy efficiency movement, launched in 2011, that encourages individuals and businesses to lead energy-smart lifestyles.

Turning off the lights saves hundreds of tons of coal from being burned to produce electricity, so that less greenhouse gases are released into the atmosphere.