SA saves 575 MW of power during Earth Hour

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South Africans saved a total 575 MW of electricity – enough electricity to power a city the size of Polokwane – during 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 against typical consumption for this time on an average Saturday evening.

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

South Africans switched off their lights for Earth Hour from 8:30pm to 9:30pm.

Earth Hour started in 2007 in Sydney, Australia, 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.

“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.

“Individual actions have a collective impact; together, as a nation, we can leave a legacy of a healthy South Africa and a healthy planet,” Andrew Etzinger, Eskom’s Senior General Manager for Integrated Demand Management said on Sunday.

In 2013, South Africans achieved a 629MW average reduction on their electricity usage.

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.