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Minister of Energy, Clive Mullings, has said that staggered working hours will assist with energy conservation, and can be done without compromising quality of service.
Making his contribution to the 2008/09 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives yesterday (July 1), he said this concept has been debated extensively, and that his Ministry would in fact begin a project in September to alternate work hours. “We have put in place the technology to manage this arrangement. Identification cards have been bar-coded and we have installed machines that will record actual time of arrival and departure from work,” Mr. Mullings informed.
He added that staggering of working hours is already being practiced in certain professions in Jamaica. “We expect the introduction of flexi work time to have a positive impact on the fuel use in the transport sector. We will be measuring commute time and fuel consumption during peak and off-peak hours on selected routes and at a later date we will share these observations with the nation,” he asserted.
Meanwhile, the Energy Minister informed that in collaboration with the Jamaica Public Service (JPS), the Government will be seeking to reduce energy consumption by replacing sodium vapour bulbs with more energy efficient lights.
Currently there are more than 90,000 street lights accounting for over 66,000 megawatt hours (mwh) in 2007.He also noted that conservation and efficiency programmes have already begun in public hospitals, where energy audits have been concluded and installations of energy efficient systems started.
He further urged Jamaicans to unplug items such as radios, televisions, microwaves and cell phone chargers when not in use as if left plugged in they pull electricity from the system.
“We will also save money by installing energy efficient lighting such as light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and compact fluorescent light bulbs, (CFL’s). Conservation begins at home,” Mr. Mullings said.
The Minister noted that motorists can practice several things to conserve on fuel, such as maintaining correct tyre pressure; keeping engines tuned; keeping windows up to reduce the effect of drag; car pooling where possible; and avoiding peak hour traffic.
In addition, he said the Government will be implementing measures to systematically reduce the “haemorrhaging” of water from the National Water Commission’s (NWC) network. He told the House that the NWC has a leakage rate in excess of 60 per cent, which results in wasted energy.