If everyone simultaneously switches the power back on after Earth Hour, are we flirting with a blackout?

If everyone simultaneously switches the power back on after Earth Hour, are we flirting with a blackout?

Photo by Jeff Louie 

If enough of us were to flick on the lights at the same time, Toronto could find itself cloaked in darkness like we did in August 2003. But the odds of such a disaster resulting from Earth Hour are nil. During the hour of non-power (from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. on the last Saturday in March), participating cities turn off non-essential lighting (the CN Tower’s neon glow, for example) but leave most voltage suckers—like home furnaces, street lights and the TTC—humming. In other words, despite its “Go Green” message, the event is more hype than substance, which explains last year’s Nathan Phillips Square Earth Hour concert, featuring “Turn Out the Lights” singer Nelly Furtado. This year, officials are hoping to reduce electricity usage by at least as much as last year’s 262 megawatts—enough to offset the annual CO2 output of about two and a half Torontonians, but not enough to leave us clamouring for candles.

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