JIS News

Minister of State for Industry, Technology, Energy and Commerce, Kern Spencer, has said that the government would be tackling the issue of energy inefficiency among householders, noting that fuel expenditure had become an economic burden for poorer families.
Senator Spencer, who was addressing the annual general meeting of the National Consumers’ League (NCL) yesterday (Sept.12) at the PCJ Auditorium on Trafalgar Road, said that escalating household expenditure as a proportion of total household income was “an indicator of the burden that access and use of energy services can place on the budgets of consumers, particularly those from poorer households”.
Stating that consumption inefficiencies needed to be stopped, he said that “an effective strategy must therefore tackle the issues of affordability, such as high fuel process, high demand due to poor home energy and efficiency, low household income and poor business practices”.
He noted that as part of the process to address the issue, the government had prioritized the diversification of the energy sector and had developed an Energy Green Paper for the period 2006-2020.
Furthermore, the State Minister outlined, the government was placing the consumer “at the heart of the government’s policy and practice”, through its various consumer information systems, as it was imperative “that effective policies are in place to support those who spend a disproportionate amount of their income on their energy bills.”
According to Senator Spencer, the rising prices of crude oil and liquid petroleum gas (LPG), should serve as a deterrent to the wasteful use of energy, outlining that between 2001 and 2005, LPG demand increased by 60,824 barrels, while the demand for petroleum moved from 24,006,590 to 27,182,841 barrels over the period.
In addition, he outlined, the price of crude oil and its refined by-products, which cost the government some US$325,556,391 in 2001 increased to US$874,019,136 in 2005.
The Senator pointed out that while the government was doing its part to make these resources available to the public, care should be exercised in their use, as “much of our personal as well as national productivity depends on the efficiency of the energy sector and the availability of energy products”.
Meanwhile, he lauded the NCL for 40 years of “existence and sterling contribution to the Jamaican society” and mentioned the agency’s partnership with the Ministry last year, to popularize the use of fluorescent bulbs.
The work of the NCL is sponsored by a number of government and private sector agencies.