MONTEGO BAY — The Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ) says its energy conservation seminars, being held across the island, have been successful in heightening awareness of topical issues surrounding energy use.
The organisation's Group Chief Technical Director, Dr. Earl Green, who spoke to JIS News at the sixth in the series of discussion sessions held on Wednesday (July 27) in Ocho Rios, St. Ann, said persons have been very receptive of the issues raised, including the different facets of energy and the technologies that they can utilise to enhance their quality of life.
"People have questions, some of which we can answer and some that we cannot answer. What it says though, is that we need to engage the other major stakeholders such as the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ), Jamaica Public Service (JPS) and the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) to participate in these meetings so that persons can get answers to certain questions that they raise," he said.
The energy seminars, under the theme: 'Jamaica's Energy Future,' got underway on February 9 at the PCJ Auditorium in Kingston.
The sessions, which will continue throughout the year, provide information on: energy efficient technologies and practices that persons can utilise to reduce utility bills at home; operational cost to businesses; Jamaica's energy situation; emerging business (Geothermal Energy) and job creation opportunities; and small wind power systems for homes and small commercial/industrial properties.
Dr. Green said one of the anticipated outcomes is that Jamaicans will become more cognisant of the need to conserve energy.
"A part of our job is to get persons to become more aware of what it is that they can do to assist in the reduction of their own energy use and for them to better understand the benefits that will come to them and, by extension, the wider Jamaica," he stated.
Senior Director in the Ministry of Energy and Mining, Fitzroy Vidal, stated that the discussion sessions being undertaken by the PCJ, are in keeping with the National Energy Policy, which was recently approved in Parliament.
He said it is important that the policy is implemented in a successful way "so that we can change the energy situation in the country, to reduce the price of electricity to the consumers and the price of fuel at the pumps and at the same time, improve business competitiveness".
He noted that the sessions not only highlight the policy, but they also focus on the regulatory and legislative environment to ensure that businesses will invest in the sector and appreciate that Jamaica is a place to do business.
Chairperson for the Ocho Rios/Runaway Bay Chapter of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA), Vana Taylor, told JIS News that she benefited a lot from the seminar.
"It was most exciting to hear that a grant might be in place for interested persons in the tourism sector; and so we will be working with the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica to see how I can access this for the members in my sector as well as for the business in the St. Ann/St. Mary area," Miss Taylor said.
By Aldeen Campbell
JIS REGIONAL OFFICE