Red Deer Earth Hour results mediocre but beats out Grande Prairie

While a 4.2 per cent reduction in electricity consumption from last week’s Earth Hour 2012 is not huge, the City of Red Deer said a small difference is better than nothing.

By JESSICA JONES

Advocate staff

While a 4.2 per cent reduction in electricity consumption from last week’s Earth Hour 2012 is not huge, the City of Red Deer said a small difference is better than nothing.

“I think you always hope there is more of a difference but with an exercise like this, it is more for awareness than anything,” said City of Red Deer Electric Light and Power Department manager Jim Jorgensen.

The 4.2 per cent reduction, which translates to having six houses off the grid for a month, was enough to win the Earth Hour challenge against Grande Prairie on Saturday.

“It is not going to make a major, one-time impact to just do something for an hour at any given time, but it is an illustration that by doing something small, there are differences that can be made,” Jorgensen said on Thursday.

A total of 3,941 kilowatt hours of electricity was saved during Earth Hour. Depending on commodity and electricity prices and based on a contract of eight cents per kilowatt hour, approximately $324 was saved, said Jorgensen.

“But that really depends on what contract you are with in a deregulated market,” he said.

The City of Red Deer hasn’t set a target for next year but Jorgensen said they would like to see a greater reduction in energy consumption.

“We would like to improve but the message is really about awareness, that to me should be the target, getting the word out,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mona Bartsoff, of FortisAlberta corporate communications, said Blackfalds came in 14th out of 43 communities in their service territory for a reduction in electricity consumption during Earth Hour.

Bartsoff said they measured the energy consumption a week prior, but on March 31 there was an 8.5 per cent reduction between 8:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. She says the savings were enough to power 1,002 average homes for an hour.

Town of Blackfalds Mayor Melodie Stol admitted that it wasn’t a concerted effort in the town to reduce electricity consumption during Earth Hour.

“The town didn’t organize anything,” she said, adding that Blackfalds coming in 14th out of 43 communities was unbeknownst to her.

“There are a lot of different factors that could have happened,” Bartsoff said. “It was warmer this year than previous years but

it did appear to us that the electrical consumption was less.

“I think 14th is very respectable.”

jjones@bprda.wpengine.com

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