31 March 2014
South Africans saved a total 575 megawatts (MW) of electricity – enough electricity to power a city the size of Polokwane – during Earth Hour on Saturday night as the country joined in the global stand against climate change.
State electricity company Eskom measured the reduction in electricity used during Earth Hour against typical consumption for 8.30pm to 9.30pm on an average Saturday evening.
“Earth Hour affords all electricity users an opportunity to realise that it is in our power to save electricity and switch to more sustainable ways of living and doing business,” Andrew Etzinger, Eskom’s senior general manager for integrated demand management, said on Sunday.
“Individual actions have a collective impact; together, as a nation, we can leave a legacy of a healthy South Africa and a healthy planet,” Etzinger said.
Eskom also switched off non-essential lighting at all its offices around the country, except at strategic facilities for security reasons, for its contribution to Earth Hour.
In 2013, South Africans achieved a slightly higher average reduction on their electricity usage by saving 629MW.
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.
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.