Pitt Meadows leads Earth Hour savings

Maple Ridge was second in the 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.

The City of Pitt Meadows has been on board since the beginning. Resident greenie and director of legislative services, Laurie Darcus is the person who has turned the lights out at city hall for the past four years and spearheaded efforts to make city hall recycle, become energy efficient and environmentally conscious.

She is thrilled Pitt Meadows logged a significant reduction in consumption this year, after last year’s measly savings of 1.3 per cent.

“We have been trying to get the message out to our residents and businesses through different means,” said Darcus. “It’s about awareness and making people think about what they are doing. Every little thing they do makes a huge difference when added all up together.”

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. On Monday, however, a B.C. Utilities Commission panel suspended a planned rate increase of nearly 10 per cent for B.C. Hydro customers that was to take effect April 1.

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


Community results

Pitt Meadows  5.70%

Tumbler Ridge   4.95%

Kitimat    4.35%

Whistler   4.35%

Maple Ridge   3.90%

Pouce Coupe   3.60%

Enderby    3.30%

Sicamous   3.30%

Port Coquitlam   3.00%

N.Van – City   2.85%

Anmore    2.70%

Belcarra   2.70%

Colwood    2.70%

Langford   2 70%

Metchosin   2.55%

View Royal   2.55%

Fort Nelson   2.40%

Highlands   2.40%

Coquitlam   2.25%

Esquimalt   2.25%

Mission    2.25%

N. Van District   2.25%

Bowen Island   2.10%

Delta    2.10%

North Saanich   2.10%

Port Moody   2.10%

Hudson’s Hope   1.95%

Sooke    1.95%

Port Edward   1.80%

Prince Rupert   1.80%

Abbotsford   1.65%

100 Mile House   1.65%

Richmond   1.65%

Saanich    1.65%

Surrey    1.50%

Vancouver   1.50%

New Westminster   1.49%

Squamish   1.49%

Duncan    1.47%

Central Saanich   1.46%

Taylor    1.44%

Courtenay   1.41%

Fort St. John   1.38%

Langley DM   1.34%

Tofino    1.23%

Ucluelet   1.23%

Chilliwack   1.07%

White Rock   1.01%

Langley City   0.99%

Wells    0.95%

Victoria   0.93%

Burnaby    0.89%

Oak Bay    0.81%

Smithers   0.81%

Telkwa    0.81%

Hazelton   0.72%

New Hazelton   0.72%

Powell River   0.69%

Salmon Arm   0.63%

West Vancouver   0.51%

Burns Lake   0.48%

North Cowichan   0.48%

Invermere   0.26%

Rad. Hot Sprngs   0.26%

Port Hardy   0.20%

West Kelowna   0.11%

Williams Lake   0.11%