Govt plans switch to energy-saving bulbs

In an attempt to conserve energy, the Government is moving towards permanently switching incandescent bulbs with energy-saving compact fluorescent bulbs, Energy Minister Kevin Ramnarine has said. Speaking with reporters at the launch of the Lightbulb Exchange Initiative at Penal Rock Road Hindu School on Saturday, Ramnarine said the Government was considering phasing out the use of incandescent bulbs. He said the ministry, in conjunction with the University of the West Indies, had embarked on a pilot project which would be rolled out in four areas—South, Central, North and Tobago.

He said after collecting data from the pilot study, a recommendation would then be made to Finance Minister Larry Howai to provide the financing for replacing incandescent bulbs with the energy-saving ones. The project involves selected families using compact fluorescent bulbs for a period of time, then comparing their electricity bills for the period they were using the energy-saving bulbs with a corresponding period of time when they had used incandescent bulbs. The minister said Australia had banned incandescent bulbs and Dominica had also phased them out. “It is something I think is overdue in T&T,” he said. Energy-saving bulbs are more expensive but last longer.

In addition, he said, no one would be on the breadline since there is no incandescent bulb-manufacturing company in T&T. However, he said, establishing a compact fluorescent bulb manufacturing company was something that could be considered. In his address, Ramnarine said it was possible T&T had the lowest electricity rate in the hemisphere because electricity is generated from natural gas. However, he said people took energy for granted. “Energy touches every single thing we do in T&T. What we need to do in T&T is adjust our relationship with energy,” he added. He explained that using less energy meant longer-lasting natural gas reserves, resulting in more natural gas being exported and more revenue for the country.