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Gov't saves $80m in light bill

Published:Sunday | January 10, 2016 | 12:00 AM
In this 2013 photo, Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining Phillip Paulwell (left) and Roy Lafayette, chief executive officer at Geddes Refrigeration Limited, signs a US$2.65-million contract with Geddes Refrigeration Limited for the design, supply and retrofitting of efficient air-conditioning solutions in four State entities.

The Jamaican Government has so far realised savings of $80 million over the past two years under an energy efficiency programme which has been implemented in 40 public-sector facilities.

Dubbed the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Programme (EECP), its general objective is to enhance Jamaica's energy efficiency and energy conservation. Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining Phillip Paulwell said that the State is now contemplating an expansion.

"We intend to take it much further, we are expanding it," Paulwell said.

Among the methods employed to boost energy efficiency thus far is the use of film to reflect sunlight from windows, the painting of roofs with white paint to improve cooling, and the changing of lighting fixtures.

The Government has had to pay annual costs of almost $13 billion for electricity used by its entities, and the aim is to reduce the figure by $2 billion with the introduction of several key strategic energy-saving interventions.

The measures were recommended following an audit of the energy use by the public sector, with the overall objective to cut public-sector energy consumption by 30 per cent in 2017.

"The money is being absolutely well spent. I am very proud of this project," Paulwell said.

This year, the Government is spending $379.8 million on the conservation programme, which is funded by a loan, up from the $310 million spent last year.

A total of $748.8 million is being spent on energy conservation and efficiency programmes this year, up from $599 million last year.

The targets set for this fiscal year include executing two contracts to replace inefficient air-conditioning systems in 11 state institutions at a cost of $254.9 million, and commencing the replacement of inefficient lighting in several public institutions ($77.3 million).

The Jamaica Information Service, which is among the entities that benefited from the programme, is reporting savings of 17.5 per cent per annum on its energy bill.