Pinoys no longer in the dark on Earth Hour

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Monday, March 25, 2013

THE Department of Energy (DOE) cannot yet say how many households or establishments joined this year’s Earth Hour, but at least 11.02 megawatts (mw) were saved from Liloan to San Fernando in Cebu.

Power consumption between 8:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. dropped by 11 mw while Metro Cebu observed Earth Hour last Saturday, according to the Visayan Electric Co. (Veco).

Theresa Gonzales-Sederiosa, Veco corporate communications manager, said the drop in consumption was equivalent to the average demand of 340,000 households.


It was also higher than last year’s Earth Hour, when only 2.7 mw was shed from Veco’s
On the other hand, DOE-Visayas Director Antonio Labios said that the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) reported a load drop of 42.43 mw as of 9 p.m. last Saturday.

“The load drop for Metro Cebu and the whole Visayas indicates there was continued support for Earth Hour to protect the environment since it was founded in 2007,” Labios said.

During the ceremonial switch-off at the Plaza Independencia in Cebu City, headed by the Aboitiz Group where Veco is a business unit, president and chief executive officer Erramon Aboitiz pledged not to use airconditioning systems for 30 days if the Earth Hour record is broken. 

His pledge is in line with Earth Hour’s “I Will If You Will” challenge.

However, this year’s Earth Hour power drop fell short of 2010’s 13-mw savings.

Sederiosa also dismissed the notion that a surge in power demand will occur when households and establishments participating in Earth Hour simultaneously turn their lights back on.

“That is not true,” Sederiosa said, adding that she has consulted their engineers about the issue.

“Let’s remember we only turned off lights, not machines. Besides, Earth Hour is a symbolic event that is meant to create awareness,” she said.

Earth Hour was launched in 2007 in Sydney, Australia to raise public consciousness on issues like climate change and global warming, which have been blamed on carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions generated by the production and consumption of energy from fossil fuel.

Sederiosa stressed that apart from the Earth Hour, Veco and the rest of the Aboitiz Group implement reforestation projects and energy-saving activities to fulfill their commitment to protect the environment.

Former Cebu City councilor Nestor Archival, who is an environmentalist, said there were 2.2 million people who participated in 2007 and about 10 percent of the total power typically consumed was saved during Earth Hour.

DOE records showed that during Earth Hour in 2009, over 10 million Filipinos in 647 towns and cities turned off their electricity, while 15 million Filipinos participated in 2010.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 25, 2013.

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