The Energy Savings Guide shows consumers how to save money on their energy costs. Barbados has seen increased interest and investment in the energy sector with special focus on renewable energy technologies. The use of solar power and wind power to generate electricity has joined the very well developed solar water heating market, which benefits the environment as well as consumers.
Our energy bill is mostly made up of natural gas, liquefied petroleum products and electricity. Recent additions to this are green energy products which utilise solar power and wind energy. Keep reading to find out how the Energy Savings Guide can help you to save on electricity, natural gas, and liquefied petroleum and why you should consider an alternative energy system.
Some homes in Barbados are connected to natural gas pipelines. The Barbados National Oil Company produces all of the natural gas in Barbados. It sells the product to the state owned National Petroleum Corporation which delivers natural gas to domestic, commercial and industrial customers.
Natural gas is used to power appliances such as stoves and washing machines. The NPC uses natural gas air conditioning to cool areas the lobby, workshop and cashier station at its office. There are plans to expand this offering to hotels and the commercial sector.
Natural Gas Rates for Domestic Customers
These are the current rates for domestic customers who use natural gas:
|MONTHLY CONSUMPTION CHARGE||METER FEE||VALUE ADDED TAX|
|1.48 per cubic metre||50.00||137.93|
Switching to Natural Gas
If you are considering utilising natural gas to power your appliances, then you should compare the associated fees to switch. It will cost you at least $305.43 which is broken down below:
|INSTALLATION FEE||APPLICATION FEE||INTERNAL INSTALLATION||TOTAL|
When you receive your natural gas bill each month, you should check each of the following items:
- Account Number : Confirm that the account number listed in your account number
- Service Address: Confirm that the address is the correct address
- Billing Address: Confirm that the address is the correct address
- Past Payment Summary: Check to see that the figure correlates to your last payment
- Arrears: Check to see if there are any discrepancies
- Current Usage: Monitor your usage to see if there are any suspicious spikes
- Bill Messages: Look for special announcements in this space
- Itemised Charges: Review the breakdown of the service for the prior and current months
- Important Information: Look for safety tips and other customer related information
Another feature of the Energy Savings Guide is the use of green energy or alternative energy to generate energy. Currently sun power and wind power are the most commonly used alternative energy sources. The sun has been used to heat water in the Caribbean since the early eighties and continues to be a popular choice for home owners.
The solar power market is heating up with the introduction of solar photovoltaic systems. Whilst some people might see these systems as expensive luxuries, I disagree. I see them as an energy saving investment that can save consumers in the long run. The cost of the systems on the market vary depending on the brand, size and output capacity.
What makes the solar power systems even more attractive is that the Barbados government has implemented a number of initiatives to encourage the sector. There are no import duties or value added taxes on renewable energy systems. Consumers can also claim up to a $10,000 income tax deduction.
The off grid system is a stand alone power system which requires the use of batteries to store electricity. When I take the leap into alternative energy to power my home, this is the route that I will be taking. My main reason for this is that I will have my own electricity system that is not dependent on the main electricity supplier.
The on-grid system maintains a connection to the main power grid. During the day this type of system power will be generated by the sun, but at night the grid will be used. One benefit of this system is that consumers can sell back their unused electricity to the electricity company. Just remember that you will still be dependent on the supplier.
The last feature of the Energy Savings Guide is probably the most important for the Barbados market. Electricity on the island is provided by the Barbados Light and Power Company Ltd. (BL&P) which is owned by Emera, a Canadian based company. The BL&P is the sole provider of gas generated electricity and the largest electricity on the island.
Unfortunately, we do not have the option of switching electricity providers but there are some simple steps that homeowners can take to save money on their electricity bill. Seeing that oil prices are a record low, consumers might have noticed a reduction in their electricity bill. This is the perfect time to find additional ways to save on energy costs and implement new measures to maximise savings.
Do you believe that you can save money on your electricity without spending a cent? All you have to do is to turn off lights in rooms that are not being used. You should also turn off the light whenever you leave a room. To take your energy savings a step further, you should install compact fluorescent bulbs or light emitting diodes. Although these types of bulbs may be more expensive than the traditional light bulbs, they last a lot longer and will save you money in the long run.
Older appliances will cost you more money to run. I’m not suggesting that you dump your trusty refrigerator or washing machine, but I’m asking you to weigh the costs. If you decide to purchase a new appliance, select those that carry Energy Star ratings. Always research the appliance before you purchase, because some unscrupulous companies purchase the energy star stickers and append them to the appliance.
Unplugging Electronics and Appliances
Something that I’ve been doing in my home for years is unplugging electronics and appliances that are not in use. The only items that remain plugged are the refrigerator, the freezer and the stove. Not many people realise that any appliance or electronic product that remains plugged still uses electricity when it’s turned off. Good examples of these items are those that have clock displays such as microwaves, stereos and televisions. Other items which have standby or sleep modes like computers and laptops are also energy sappers.
Energy Savings Guide Resources
It takes the cooperation of several minds to create a change. I want to help you to save as much as you can on your energy bill. Here are some excellent guides that I often read to get tips and ideas.
Tell your friends about the Energy Savings Club by sharing it on Facebook, where you can join discussions about hot topics.