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Last night’s observance of Earth Hour saved at least 18 megawatts of power in Metro Cebu. Power demand dropped to 248.89 MW in the franchise area of the Visayan Electric Company (Veco), said Ethel Natera, Veco corporate communications officer.

At 8:30 p.m, lights were turned off for one hour in several malls, hotels and buildings in Cebu City and other parts of of Cebu and the country, where ecology-conscious citizens joined the annual international switch-off.

Regional Director Antonio Labios of the Department of Energy in Central Visayas (DOE-7) said SM, Ayala Cebu and E-Mall joined this year’s Earth Hour celebration. At SM City, at least 50 percent of the mall’s lights were turned of, said mall spokesman RJ Redula, saving 3,000 kilowatt hours.

Last year the Earth Hour activity saved 25.96 megawatts of power in 2010 and 23 megawatts in 2009. Data posted on the Veco website showed that as of 8:45 p.m., power demand in their franchise area dropped to 257.1 MW. It dropped further to 254.68 MW or about 12 megawatts as of 9 p.m. At 9:15 p.m., power demand dropped further to 249.76 MW or a savings of 17 MW in the franchise area.

Before Earth Hour ended at 9:30 p.m., Veco noted a total savings of 18 megawatts.