The Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ) is to conduct an energy audit at the Cornwall Regional Hospital in St. James to see how the facility’s massive light bill, which runs upwards of $100 million each year, can be pared.
Minister of Energy and Mining, Hon. James Robertson, who spoke to JIS News during a tour of the hospital’s energy system on Thursday (October 28), said the assessment will be done “very soon.”
“I have already made the call to the PCJ to come in and carry out an audit of the total energy system with a view to cut the present electricity cost. If we are able to save on energy by cutting the light bill significantly, then this hospital will be better able to save lives and give us greater efficiencies,” he stated.
According to the Minister, the savings realised from a more efficient energy system, could be put into life-saving care, including the running of the dialysis centre, which has an annual operational cost of approximately $120 million.
Minister of Energy and Mining, Hon. James Robertson (left) and Chairman of the Cornwall Regional Hospital Board of Directors, Noel Donaldson, examine some conservation equipment at the Hospital in Montego Bay, during a tour of the health facility on October 28.
“We must do something in the near future to make a difference to the operational cost at the hospital. If we can audit and then see how and where we can advise them on things they can do to create efficiencies, then we would have done our job,” he stated.
The hospital’s board chairman, Noel Donaldson, who was also on the tour, said he was glad that the Minister was able to see firsthand, some of the challenges being faced by the hospital in its day-to-day operations.
“We have a team here that is dedicated and committed to providing quality health care, but I believe that we all recognise that the delivery of health care requires financial resources.
“So, to the extent that we can save monies in terms of our expenditure on our light bill, which is approximately $8.5 million each month, we definitely need to cut this significantly so that we can better utilise those resources,” Mr. Donaldson told JIS News.
Jamaica is looking to incorporate the use of renewable energy to reduce the oil import bill, promote greater energy efficiency across the various sectors and boost economic growth.
Focus is being placed on liquefied natural gas (LNG), which is a cleaner and cheaper alternative to fossil fuel.
Cabinet, earlier this month, approved the use of the limited tender process to procure 480 megawatts of generating capacity, incorporating LNG, for addition to the national energy grid at a cost of US$632 million.