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Oshawa ups Earth Hour participation

Oshawa Power and Utilities Corporation registered a 4.4-per-cent drop in power usage during this year’s Earth Hour. The annual event encourages people and businesses to turn off their lights and to not only save power, but recognize the role of electricity generation in climate change.

By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express

Bucking the trend seen in many municipalities, more Oshawa residents were turning out their lights during this year’s Earth Hour than in year’s past.

According to information from the Oshawa Power and Utilities Corporation (OPUC), the city saw a 4.4-per-cent reduction in usage, an increase from the 3.1-per-cent reduction seen in 2016. The short time frame between 8:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. on March 25 equates to a savings of approximately 6.03 megawatts of electricity.

“I would say most utilities saw less participation, or not as big a drop. Oshawa certainly bucks the trend, the trend was mostly downward, but we ended up going higher,” says Ivanno Labricciosa, the president of the OPUC.

While slightly surprised by the result, Labricciosa says Oshawa has historically been a community with close ties to hydro issues, and he’s glad to see so many residents take part in an important community initiative.

“I continually am amazed that I think Oshawa residents are very engaged with the energy file,” he says. “I am totally impressed with the fact that the residents care about what’s going on in their community more so than others.”

And while Labricciosa recognizes the irony of the OPUC celebrating a drop in electricty sales, he says it’s not about selling less, but becoming more efficient in the years ahead.

“Everything you buy these days plugs in somewhere, so everyone is going to need this stuff, but the more efficient we are with it, means we don’t have to actually add a bigger footprint,” he says. “I’m not about selling less of it, I always think there’s going to be more needed, but the more efficient we are the better off we are.”

In total, 187 countries took part in the 2017 Earth Hour event, up from 178 last year, with more than 3,000 landmarks being switched off.