Dealing with significant rise in electricity usage

File photo: TTEC head office in Port of Spain.
File photo: TTEC head office in Port of Spain.

THE EDITOR: I write to express my concern about the significant increase in electricity usage in TT, which has been exacerbated by the intense heat of our current dry season. This rise in energy consumption is a multifaceted issue that warrants urgent attention from both policymakers and the public.

Recent data from the TT Electricity Commission (T&TEC) highlights the severity of the situation. On September 13, 2023, the commission recorded its highest ever consumer electricity demand, up to that time, of 1410 megawatts (MW). This month has seen record-breaking peaks, with demand reaching 1422 MW on the second, 1447.1 MW on the sixth, 1448 MW on the seventh, 1455.8 MW on the 13th, and 1456.2 MW on the 15th.

These figures are indicative of a trend that has been growing over the years, largely driven by the soaring temperatures we are experiencing.

One of the primary reasons for this spike in electricity use is the unprecedented heat. As temperatures rise, the demand for cooling solutions, particularly air conditioning, has surged. People are naturally inclined to seek comfort in their homes, leading to higher electricity consumption.

Moreover, the economic climate has further complicated this issue. With the cost of living rising steadily, many residents find themselves constrained financially. Leisure activities and outings that could provide relief from the heat have become luxuries that fewer people can afford.

Consequently, more individuals are staying home, relying heavily on air conditioning to mitigate the oppressive heat. This increased dependence on air conditioning is reflected in our escalating electricity bills.

T&TEC has indicated that while there is currently enough installed capacity (2037 MW) to meet the surge in demand, the increased usage is leading to a rise in natural gas consumption, which has broader implications for our economy and environment. The commission is urging consumers to practise conservation to ensure the stability of our energy supply.

To help manage electricity usage, T&TEC has provided several tips:

1. Raise the temperature of air-conditioning units: Even a few degrees can significantly reduce energy consumption while maintaining comfort.

2. Shield the sun: Closing window blinds and curtains to block out direct sunlight can make a noticeable difference in keeping homes cool.

3. Reduce water heating: Lowering the thermostat on water heaters and turning off heating elements intermittently can save substantial amounts of energy.

4. Unplug appliances: Devices that are not in use should be unplugged to prevent energy wastage.

5. Switch to energy-efficient lighting: Using LED bulbs can help lower electricity use and reduce heat production.

It is imperative that we address this issue holistically. The Government should consider measures to make energy-efficient appliances more accessible and affordable. Additionally, public awareness campaigns about energy conservation and alternative cooling methods could help reduce electricity consumption. Investing in renewable energy sources and improving the resilience of our power infrastructure will also be crucial in the long run.

As a community, we need to recognise the interconnectedness of our economic and environmental challenges. By taking proactive steps now, we can alleviate the immediate pressures of the dry season while paving the way for a more sustainable and resilient future.




"Dealing with significant rise in electricity usage"

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