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Few households, establishments joined Earth Hour ‘switch-off’ in 2013

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CEBU CITY, Philippines — A significant drop in power consumption was reported in the Cebu province on Saturday night when thousands switched off their lights and other electrical devices to mark Earth Hour.

But the drop in power consumption on the islands of Panay, Negros, Bohol, Samar and Leyte was less compared with those posted in previous commemorations.

It was, however, difficult to pinpoint one reason for the smaller load drop, said Antonio Labios, director of the Department of Energy (DOE) Visayas Field Office.

Engineer Noel Hechanova, Iloilo City environment officer, said the small drop in consumption could be due to a lack of coordination in the campaign of various groups and sectors that joined the activity.

Earth Hour, started in 2007, is a global advocacy to raise awareness on climate change and the need to protect the environment by limiting power consumption and carbon emission.

Every last Saturday of March, advocates voluntarily switch off non-essential lights and electric appliances for an hour.

Based on data of the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) submitted to the DOE Visayas field office, the total drop in the Visayas grid at 9 p.m. Saturday was 42.43 megawatts.

This was less than the 57-MW drop in 2012’s Earth Hour, 87 MW in 2011 and 52 MW in 2010 but higher than the 40-MW drop in the 2009 commemoration.

Power consumption on Leyte and Samar islands dropped by 7.9 MW, significantly less than the 21-MW drop in 2012.

The drop was also less on Panay island (7.16 MW compared with  last year’s 8 MW), Negros Island (6.57 MW compared with 8 MW) and Bohol island (3.65 MW compared with 5 MW).

Only Cebu registered a bigger drop in power consumption during Earth Hour at 17.15 MW compared with last year’s 15 MW drop, the NGCP report said.

The report affirmed the data from Visayas Electric Co. (Veco), which showed that there was an increase in the power drop from its franchise area.

Veco is serving 340,000 customers in Metro Cebu — from Liloan town in the north to San Fernando town in the south.

Its data showed that the 11.02-MW drop in power use on Saturday was bigger than the 2.77-MW decline in 2012, the 6.98-MW decline in the 2011, and the 11.01-MW reduction in 2009.

Last Saturday’s figure, however, was lower than the reduction in power consumption of 13.25 MW in the 2010 Earth Hour.

Major malls, business centers, hotels and a shipyard were among the participants of Earth Hour in Cebu.

Fortune Shipworks, a medium-sized ship repair and ship builder in Barangay (village) Tayud, Consolacion town as well as SM City malls in Cebu City and in Consolacion town also joined in the switch off.

The common area lights in the Cebu Business Park (CBP) and the Cebu I.T. Park were turned off for an hour during the Earth Hour. Both are flagship projects of Ayala-owned Cebu Holdings Inc. (CHI) and Cebu Property Ventures and Development Corp. (CPVDC).

Managed properties of CHI and CPVDC within the parks also took part in Earth Hour. These were Ayala Center Cebu, Cebu Holdings Center, Ayala Life-FGU Centre, City Sports Club Cebu, The Walk, eBloc Towers 1 7 2, and the Office.

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Tags: Department of Energy , earth hour , Electricity production and distribution , environment , Environmental Issues , National Grid Corporation of the Philippines , News , Regions , Visayas

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