Does the recent Earth-hour event staged over the week-end actually save money? When the event occurs there is a major drop in energy consumption at the start but isn't there also a spike when everyone turns items back on at the end of the hour?
Earth hour isn't about saving money or the environment. It is just a feel-good publicity stunt.
I agree with JohnFx on that not being about saving money and being a publicity stunt.
But I also the main benefit of it is raising awareness of environmental issues and a incentive to saving electricity.
I agree with all of the answers, but knowing the amount of money saved will give new ideas to use this money to help develope new concepts that will help humanity.
Did you see something specific regarding a claim of money saved through observance of the Earth Hour event? The organisers maintain it is about raising awareness of climate change issues - I can't find anything from them regarding saving money/have never seen anything.
You could take the claims regarding drops in national-level energy consumption and the decrease in use of various items/devices etc etc and work out a financial savings of a sort - ie. add together "energy not used x average kilowatt cost", "fuel saved through non-use of vehicles x average price per litre", etc etc and so on. But it would be wild wild guesses littered with assumptions - I seriously doubt you could work up a credible figure.
Which is why I don't think the organisers make claims regarding money (please correct me if you saw something from them that stated otherwise) - they tend to stick to the "awareness" mantra.
Regarding your second question, I think you'll find there is some consensus that large-scale downturns followed by large-scale upturns in electricity consumption is not environmentally friendly. The Telegraph is a good read on this: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/climatechange/7527469/Earth-Hour-will-not-cut-carbon-emissions.html (To be honest, the Telegraph's article is a good summary of the entire concept of Earth Day.)