TORONTO - Fewer Torontonians went to black this year for Earth Hour to help green the planet.
Toronto Hydro says that this year’s event on Saturday evening saw a drop in electricity use by 2.8%, or 77 megawatts.
It is the equivalent to having 31,000 homes removed from Toronto’s hydro grid.
That’s down from 2016’s Earth Hour — which starts every year at 8:30 p.m. — when electricity use dropped by 3.2%.
Toronto Hydro says the 10th anniversary of the event in the city this year was successful.
“We’re happy with the results of this year’s Earth Day and want to thank everyone who took part,” said spokesman Tori Gass.
“But we also want to recognize everyone out there that makes an effort to reduce their electricity use each and every day of the year.”
The city’s most successful Earth Hour was in 2009, when electricity use dropped by 15.1%
A Toronto Hydro poll shows 54% of customers say they have become smarter about their energy use in the last decade.
In fact, from 2006 to 2015 city residents have achieved energy savings of 1,756 gigawatt hours, which is equal to taking 600 large condo buildings off the grid.
That drop also helped remove 1.1 million tonnes in greenhouse gas emissions and is the same as taking 34,000 cars off the road.
Lower Earth Hour results aren’t as important as reducing the consumption rates all year.
“Whether or not you turn your lights off in March for an hour isn’t the point. For people to use less is the message,” said Franz Hartmann with the Toronto Environmental Alliance.`
“It’s when you go to buy a new fridge or TV and get the one that uses less electricity. If that’s happening it’s a good thing.”
Skyrocketing electricity rates across the province have many families watching their consumption rates.
“You have to be careful, because it costs too much,” said Brett Penney, while grocery shopping with his family downtown and admitting he didn’t take part in Earth Hour.
“You have to have heat and lights, but you don’t keep every light on in the house.”
Earth Hour started in 2007 by the World Wildlife Fund and today 172 countries participate for environmentally sustainable action.