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Prime Minister Bruce Golding says the public sector must set the example and lead the way in addressing the problem of excess use of energy in order to get the whole country to support energy efficiency and conservation. He said Jamaica faces severe energy challenges, far beyond most other countries as we depend almost entirely on imported oil for our energy. Jamaica’s Oil imports, he said account for almost 40% of the country’s total import bill which makes it vulnerable to the volatility of the international oil market.
Addressing a workshop on energy saving opportunities within the public sector at the Knutsford Court hotel in Kingston yesterday, (Dec 2) Mr. Golding said the whole country must become engaged in the effort, but that effort must start with government.
‘We in the public sector are inefficient users of electricity. We spend $11 billion a year to pay electricity bills for government institutions, our schools, our hospitals, government offices and so on. That represents almost 15% of the total electricity consumed in Jamaica and it ought not to be’, Mr Golding lamented.
The Prime Minister said that 2 years ago he mandated the public sector to ensure a 15% reduction in energy usage but he is not convinced that enough effort was made to achieve this objective. ‘We have not worked hard enough. We haven’t seen the 15% reduction in dollar terms, although this does not mean that there has not been a reduction as the dollar figures will be misleading depending on the value of the dollar’. Mr Golding said more recently, he requested a check on kilowatt usage to see if there has been any real reduction in electricity consumption but to date he has not received the figures.
He suggested that the workshop look at sensitising the public through public education, seminars or competitions, to see which government agency comes out best before adopting the energy saving techniques which have been identified.
The workshop was presented by the Ministry of Energy and Mining in conjunction with the Inter-American Development Bank. This morning’s session heard a summary of findings by PA Consultants and saw the Prime Minister along with the Minister of Energy and Mining, James Robertson and other government officials, touring the energy efficiency exhibits.

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