13 December 2007 – Eskom announced the winners of the annual eta Awards in Johannesburg on Tuesday 12th December. The eta awards recognise individuals and companies who have made efforts to reduce energy use and apply energy efficiency principles to the project they have been involved in.
The winner of the Women in Energy – community category, was radio presenter, Jenny Crwys-Williams. Crwys-Williams initiated the Big-Switch off campaign which encouraged businesses and residential consumers to switch off non-essential lighting for one hour as a symbolic gesture of the need to conserve energy.
In addition, she used her position as a radio presenter on Talk Radio 702 to promote energy efficiency during the winter of 2007.
At 9pm on the 23rd August 2007, a number of businesses and residents joined in a symbolic ‘switch off’ for an hour to show just how easy it is to preserve energy. Her success was measured by a 5MW drop in consumption during the hour switch-off. Sandton, an area of Gauteng, was also in almost total darkness for an hour.
"I was bowled over by the incredible support the campaign received," said Crwys-Williams.
"It was very exciting to see how open and enthusiastic gigantic companies were to come to the party. The switch off proved that it is easy for massive companies to make a significant difference in conserving energy and in turn, give power to the people. They switched off but I think they were very switched on!"
Companies involved in the Big-Switch off included Primedia Broadcasting, Sandton Medi-Clinic, FirstRand, Absa, Cinemark, Investec, Mail & Guardian, Rand Merchant Bank, Discovery, Netcare 911, the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, the National Energy Efficiency Agency (NEEA) and Eskom.