THE previous administration’s announcement of free LED bulbs for citizens will see the light from Tuesday as the TT Electricity Commission (T&TEC) will begin distribution of 1.6 million bulbs to 400,000 households.
This was announced Monday during the virtual media launch of Government’s LED Bulb Distribution Programme and T&TEC’s Energy Management Application.
T&TEC chairman Keith Sirju in his opening remarks said switching to LED bulbs is one way to become energy efficient as these lights provide the same amount of illumination whilst using less than half of the energy consumed by traditional ones.
He recalled the provision of LED bulbs was promised by the Finance Minister in the 2020 budget presentation in October 2019. He explained the delivery of these bulbs, four each for 400,000 customers, is the first project to be completed under the Government’s energy efficiency/energy conservation policy and action plan 2020-2024.
Sirju said the potential savings for customers who change four 60-watt incandescent bulbs to four 9-watt LED bulbs is approximately $25.00 per billing cycle. He added there were also also environmental benefits as the reduced the demand for electricity lessens the amount of natural gas used in electricity generation, which in turn reduces carbon emissions. He reported T&TEC currently uses 250 million standard cubic feet of natural gas daily.
Public Utilities Minister Marvin Gonzales in his feature address reported the bulbs were supplied by Nova Lighting Trinidad and manufactured by Emitter Energy Inc. and cost taxpayers $8.8 million. The distribution will be facilitated by T&TEC and they can be collected either when a bill is paid (if the bill is not in the person’s name then a letter of authorisation and a copy of the person’s ID is required) or via appointment for people who do not pay in person. T&TEC corporate communications manager said the supplier of the bulbs was selected via public competitive tender. “This is why it took just under a year to come to fruition.”
Gonzales said the average account holder enjoys a subsidy of over 80 per cent on their bill as a result of the preferential rate that T&TEC pays for natural gas. He added that unfortunately this has led to a “very cavalier and entitled approach to our electricity usage” and this must change. He congratulated T&TEC on the launch of their Energy Management Application, a simple application that will assist consumers in monitoring their energy consumption and carbon footprints.
Gonzales said TT’s abundant supply of natural gas is on the decline and a supply/demand mismatch has emerged. Former public utilities minister Robert Le Hunte attended the meeting virtually and congratulated the T&TEC officials for bringing the projects to fruition despite a number of challenging issues associated with it.