Dip in energy use
WITH THE RECENT hike in electricity bills, this island’s sole electricity provider is reporting a four per cent drop in power use since the start of the year.
Stephen Worme, the Barbados Light & Power Company’s (BL&P) chief marketing officer, told the DAILY NATION yesterday that energy use among residential customers for the January to April period was down 1.2 per cent, while overall consumption fell by about four per cent compared with the same period last year.
“So far this year, we recognize that customers have been making special efforts to conserve energy. We have been recognizing that both at the commercial level as well as at the residential level,” he said.
Worme added that lower atmospheric temperatures at the beginning of this year had also impacted on air conditioning and refrigeration costs, thereby reducing the overall energy consumption.
Back in March, BL&P announced that due to rising international fuel prices, customers could expect an increase of about ten per cent on their electricity bills.
Since then a number of firms have embarked on energy audits, with Andy Armstrong, president of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, pointing out that electricity accounted for a major chunk of their costs.
“We are looking at simple things such as replacing light fixtures with more efficient fixtures, installing motor controls on AC units and cold storage units, and a lot [of businesses] are looking at renewable energy, in particular photovoltaic,” Armstrong said.
Some residential consumers have also been making changes to their energy consumption patterns, but in some cases to no avail.
“My household bill was averaging $275 before and last month went to $315, and that was with a reduction in use,” complained Janelle Hinds.
“We turned off unnecessary lights in the house at night, turned off the computer when not in use, [and] only turned on fans when we needed to . . . . Something must be done about these bills – and fast!” she told the DAILY NATION.
However, Antheia Springer-Williams was pleased that her efforts to reduce energy use in her home were paying off.
“I turned off all the lights, cut back on half-full loads, pulled out all the plugs except the fridge on leaving home, used the laptop instead of the big computer, sat outside in the garden quite a bit between leaving work and going to bed, so no fan. They read the meter, and my bill came down about $30.”
Ronnie Murrell also suggested that “more Barbadians, in trying to cut the cost of their energy bills, should, along with saving the energy already available to us, look to invest in solar energy”.
This position was strongly supported by William Hinds, Government’s renewable energy expert, who reported a “definite increase” in people who were putting solar systems in their houses.