Johannesburg – South Africans cut electricity usage by 629 megawatts during the weekend’s Earth Hour campaign.
That’s enough to power Mozambique for a day, or run Port Elizabeth for most of a day, said Eskom.
Earth Hour was observed on Saturday between 8.30pm and 9.30pm.
Eskom said this showed that more and more South Africans are “seeing the value of switching off what they are not using”.
Eskom measured the reduction in electricity used during the hour against “typical consumption for this time on an average Saturday evening”, said the utility.
During last year’s Earth Hour, Eskom calculated that South Africans reduced power usage by 402MW, which it said was enough to power Bloemfontein for a day.
The utility said it switched off non-essential lighting at all its own offices, except at strategic facilities for security reasons.
Earth Hour was an idea started in Sydney, Australia, to bring awareness of climate change by having private households as well as businesses switch off electricity for an hour.
This idea is now reaching across many countries, showing people that the smallest actions can make a difference.
Last week, Eskom urged South Africans to cut their electricity by 10 percent because demand is threatening to outstrip supply.
Over the past few weeks the parastatal has been plagued by problems – including an unprotected strike at one of its coal suppliers, Exxaro in Mpumalanga – that have put the national grid under pressure.
Koeberg’s unit 1 tripped two weeks ago and has had to undergo maintenance, which increased pressure on the grid.
Another problem was damage caused by floods to a transmission line from Cahora Bassa Dam in Mozambique.
On Saturday, Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba, addressing residents in Kliptown, Soweto, warned that South Africans should brace themselves for a difficult winter as electricity supply remained in short supply.
Gigaba also urged communities to pay for their electricity and to report illegal connections.
This was part of the 49M campaign, a call to all South Africans, including children, to save power, help their pockets and help save the planet. – The Star