JIS News

The Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) has expressed concern about the mounting electricity bills now facing Jamaicans and has said that it is in the company’s interest to guide consumers in their conservation methods.
Speaking at a recent JIS Think Tank at the agency’s headquarters, Head of Corporate Communication at JPS, Winsome Callum, noted that Jamaicans are having a hard time paying their electricity bills and said that this is a growing concern to the JPS. She recommended conservation as one method of managing electricity costs, which will also help to reduce the country’s high energy bill.
She pointed out that increasingly, JPS provides information to consumers, who need help to reduce their energy consumption. The JPS also offers energy audits to organizations as another means of reducing costs.
Miss Callum said it is imperative that the JPS encourages consumers to conserve, as the power provider uses approximately 20,000 barrels of oil per day. She was speaking on a day when oil prices hit a high of US$136 on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
“It is extremely difficult for customers to manage, especially persons on a fixed income or pensioners. The bill of an average customer, who uses between 170 and 200 kilowatt hours, could have gone up by 60 per cent since the start of the year,” Miss Callum said.
In the meantime, Senior Energy Engineer at JPS, Volton Campbell, who also addressed the Think Tank, strongly recommended that customers do their best to conserve.
Mr. Campbell advised customers to monitor and learn to read their meter. “Read your meter at least once per month to see if it correlates to what you are billed for by JPS.and your efforts to control your consumption. For example, if you were to stop using your air conditioner, if you have one, from the beginning of the month to the end of the month, you will see a significant reduction in your consumption,” he outlined.
He also urged customers to focus on two aspects of their bills as they attempt to address consumption patterns – the rating of the electrical equipment, and the amount of time that it is used. “When you put those two together,” the Energy Engineer explained, “you get the kilowatt/hour consumption of a particular item.”
Mr. Campbell said that while consumers may be concerned about the energy use of an iron, which is only utilized periodically, a refrigerator, which uses less electricity per hour than an iron, can, in extreme cases, go for up to 24 hours per day.
He explained that a properly working refrigerator will cycle on and off, and will only use electricity when it is in the ‘on’ cycle. However, if the item is not functioning properly, it can use energy all the time, contributing to a high energy bill.
Air conditioners and water heaters can also be high energy users, contributing heavily to what you pay at the end of the month, he added.
Breaking down the usage by appliances, Mr. Campbell informed that, “A 42,000 BTU air conditioner, used for six hours per day, can cost you in the region of an additional $8,000 per month to your electricity bill. If you use your water heater for three hours per day, the addition to your bill would be in the region of $7,000 per month.”
He advised that people should only use hot water if they have to, and recommended the use of fans instead of air conditioners.
Other tips on conserving energy use can be gleaned from the JPS website at www.jpsco.com, and from available brochures.
Information on the website urges consumers to reduce the time each electrical device is operated and lower the wattage of the electrical devices used. When purchasing new equipment or appliances, JPS advises that consumers check the label for wattage details.
As part of the national thrust to conserve energy, JPS encourages consumers to ask the following questions:Do I really need to use this equipment? Can I utilize natural light, heat from the sun, natural breeze or manpower to carry out this task?Do I need to operate this equipment for all the time that it is on?Is this appliance or equipment properly maintained or being operated in the correct manner?Is this the most energy efficient model that is available?
Additionally, Mr. Campbell pointed out that useful conservation measures should be practised at all times including ironing once per week, not using the television as a radio and turning it off when no one is watching, as well as scheduling regular maintenance and servicing of electrical equipment.

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