Science, Technology, Energy and Mining Minister, Hon. Phillip Paulwell, says the Government is determined to solve the country’s energy problem “once and for all”.
“The time for procrastination is over and that decision is going to be happening now with the installation of the 360 megawatt plant,” Mr. Paulwell stated yesterday (April 4), as he addressed the opening of the Jamaica Public Service’s (JPS) eStore at the company’s Ruthven Road offices in New Kingston.
Governor General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen, in his Throne Speech on April 4, informed that construction of the plant will begin this calendar year and will replace the existing 292-megawatt facility at Old Harbour, St. Catherine.
The US$614 million plant will become the heart of the JPS’ power grid once completed in 2016, and is expected to deliver savings of 30 to 40 per cent on electricity bills based on the use of cheaper fuel sources.
Minister Paulwell lauded the light and power company for opening the store, which provides energy solutions to help consumers save money by efficiently managing their power usage at home and in the office.
“We have seen tremendous progress in the JPS. What is happening here is a reflection of those changing times and I think the company understands, as well as all of Jamaica, that if we do not get the price of electricity down, there’s no business – not only for the company, but for the country,” he stated.
Director of Sales and Marketing, JPS, Garth McKenzie, said the mission of the eStore is to empower consumers to take control of escalating energy costs.
He noted that while the JPS is unable to control global oil prices, it has the ability to arm consumers with the skill and tools to limit the amount of energy used and wasted in homes and offices.
The store, which is the first of four planned outlets island-wide, will also have trained, knowledgeable staff to advise customers on the best strategies to maximise conservation efforts, he informed.
The eStore will initially market over 40 different products, including LED lighting technology as well as energy management devices. Among the products to be sold is the Digital Energy Timer (DET), which allows users to automatically switch off electrical devices when not in use through a timer or remotely, via the internet.
The product, which was invented locally by Jamaican Engineer, Jackie Stuart, can be used to turn on and off lights, televisions, air conditioning units, refrigerators, fans, electric water heaters, and other household appliances.
According to the JPS, the device can also be used on a larger scale, for example, at factories where equipment must be switched off on weekends. The timer, which also carries an energy meter that measures the amount of power used, can be installed at distribution panels, electrical enclosures and specific zone areas, and is also useful in determining energy usage of one section of a factory or a tenant in a rental situation.
The store also carries LED lights, which, according to Mr. McKenzie, when compared to incandescent bulbs, can reduce energy costs by approximately $3,000 per bulb per year.