Not much energy for Earth Hour

Mission's electricity usage dipped a mere 0.63 per cent last Saturday night

Mission didn't conserve as much energy as last year during the annual Earth Hour.

Mission residents pretty much ignored the fifth year of Earth Hour on Saturday night, with BC Hydro reporting electricity consumption in the district dropped by just 0.63 per cent between 8:30 and 9:30 p.m.

That’s worse than Vancouver, which declined 2.1 per cent, and the provincial average of minus 1.67 per cent. Abbotsford was equally disinterested, declining just 0.93 per cent from normal output.

This year’s result was a far cry from 2011 when Mission turned in a 2.25 per cent energy drop.

But BC Hydro spokeswoman Jennifer Young said electricity consumption can be dependent on a number of local factors, such as any high-profile events, the weather, or a large industrial plant.

“So, I wouldn’t get too caught up in that. The great thing is that we had 91 communities participating this year across B.C., which is up from last year, and really the point of the Earth Hour event is to demonstrate that small steps can really add up,” she said.

Mayor Ted Adlem said he likes the concept of Earth Hour, and that he doesn’t find Mission’s dismal numbers disheartening.

“If everyone turned off their electricity one hour a day we’d save one-24th of our power,” he said, adding the district will look at how it can promote energy conservation in the future.

“I would hope that everyone would be taking a look at what they can do to conserve power.”

Mission’s environmental services manager, Mike Younie, said he was disappointed to hear the results, but stressed the district is looking at numerous ways to make itself more energy efficient.

That includes things like the Community Energy and Emission Plan, which Mission implemented in 2011 to follow policies and procedures that will make it more energy efficient, increase the use of renewable energy sources and reduce its carbon footprint.

Younie said the broader message of energy conservation will become heeded more as energy prices continue to rise, which at a certain point will cause people to realize they can also save money.

“I think the message that’s going to hit home even more will be the fact that hydro rates are going up again seven per cent this year,” he said.

Earth Hour is a global event organized by the World Wide Fund for Nature and held annually on the last Saturday in March. It first took place in Sydney, Australia, in 2007, and caught on in other countries in the years after.