Jamaica’s Government Could Decrease Budget Allocations Based on Energy Bills

By: Caribbean Journal Staff - May 3, 2012

Above: Energy Minister Phillip Paulwell

By the Caribbean Journal staff

Jamaica’s government is looking to decrease energy consumption across the island, and that could mean lowering budgetary allocations for governmental departments whose energy bills go up.

That was the message from Energy Minister Phillip Paulwell, who said that the government now had access to the electricity bills of “every single government entity,” and that the government would be monitoring those bills.

“If you increase consumption over your current level, you can expect a negative impact on your overall budgetary allocation,” Paulwell said, urging government to lead in the effort to reduce the country’s energy consumption.

The Minister was speaking Tuesday at the launch of the first phase of its Energy Efficiency and Conservation Programme, which is being supported by a $20 million loan from the Inter-American Development Bank.

The first phase, part of a governmental push on green initiatives, looks to reduce as much as 13,886 barrels of imported oil, a decrease of 22,609 MWh of electricity consumption at an annual savings of as much as $9 million.

“We’ve talked the talk long enough,” said Energy Minister Phillip Paulwell. “Today, the government of Jamaica is taking the first step in walking the walk.”

The programme has an estimated net present value of $133.1 million, with an economic return rate of 125 percent, according to the government, which said the return would be reflected in greater energy efficiency and the reduction in consumption.

Some of the activities under the programme include replacing incandescent and inefficient fluorescent lighting with LED lights, improving the insulation of buildings, and replacing inefficient air conditioning systems.

According to Paulwell, approximately $17 million of the loan will be invested in hardware.

The programme could have an impact on the country’s high unemployment rate, with a number of installation jobs potentially in the pipeline.

“[It] will employ energy auditors, engineers, architects, as well as suppliers of air conditioning and energy efficient fixtures,” he said.

That could mean the installation of more than 5,000 new air conditioning units across Jamaica and 100,000 new light fixtures.

“This is sure to have a ripple effect on the entire economy,” he said.

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