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ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFITS: Chairman of the Trinidad and Tobago Electricity Commission (T&TEC) Keith Sirju addresses yesterday’s launch of the LED Bulb Distribution Project.

THE 1.6 million LED bulbs promised by the Government will be distributed to some 400,000 T&TEC residential customers starting today.

The bulbs are being supplied by Nova Lighting Trinidad, manufactured by Emitter Energy Inc, and will cost taxpayers $8.8 million. Four bulbs will be given to each residential customer.

Speaking at the virtual launch of the programme yesterday, Trinidad and Tobago Electricity Commission (T&TEC) chairman Keith Sirju explained there are environmental benefits to making the switch.

“Estimates suggest that as much as 17 per cent of our carbon footprint is due to lighting. Therefore, making the switch to LEDs reduces the demand for electricity and lessens the amount of natural gas used in electricity generation, which in turn reduces carbon emissions.”

Sirju noted that the benefits of LEDs are significant.

“In a domestic setting, when compared to the traditional lights, such as the compact fluorescent (CFL) and incandescent bulbs, LEDs have a longer life–15,000 hours as compared to 1,000 hours for incandescent bulbs. The potential savings for customers who make the switch can be quite favourable; if you change four 60-watt incandescent bulbs to four 9-watt LED bulbs, you can save approximately $25.00 per billing cycle.”

Due to the Covid-19 restrictions, bulbs can only be collected when customers pay their bills or by appointment. During the presentation on the bulb-distribution process, the Electricity Commission said if the account is in your name you will receive the bulbs the next time you visit to pay your bill and you must have your ID to collect.

If the account is not in your name, when you visit to pay the bill you must have your national identification, a letter of authorisation and a copy of the account holder’s ID, or a recent bill.

On the off chance that a bulb doesn’t work on first use, a request can be made to replace it under warranty.

Each bulb carries a two-year warranty against manufacturer’s defects. Customers can find details of the warranty on T&TEC’s website.

Another feature highlighed at the launch was that a new application from T&TEC, will be accessible via its Customer Web Access portal.

Account holders will be able to set goals for usage or bill total, monitor their usage habits, and use a calculator to estimate the electricity consumed by their specific appliances.

It also provides an animated representation of the level of carbon emissions a customer generates, to better inform them about greenhouse gases and how these relate to items used in everyday life.

Giving the feature address, Public Utilities Minister Marvin Gonzales said a pilot audit, carried out in Tower C of the International Waterfront Centre, revealed that just turning off the lights during the night in that building alone can save as much as $350,000 a year.

“And if fully embraced by the national community, as it must be, our energy conservation and efficiency plan will lead to $1.2 billion in energy cost savings over the next five years, and $2.72 billion by 2030.”

Gonzales said the Government is currently developing and implementing a number of other initiatives that are geared towards diversifying the country’s energy mix, which include:

• The construction of a 1.4 megawatt alternating current (MWac) solar generator at the Piarco International Airport.

• The construction of a Utility Scale Solar Project that consists of two Solar Photo Voltaic Plants: one at Brechin Castle and the other at Trincity.

That project was conditionally awarded in February of this year to the Consortium of BP, Shell and Light Source BP, and construction is expected to begin in the latter half of 2021.

• The construction of a Solar Photovoltaic project at the Queen’s Park Savannah.

The minister said these projects are being funded by the United Arab Emirates—Caribbean Renewable Energy Fund and are currently at the Requests for Proposals stage.

During the question and answer segment, former public utilities minister Robert Le Hunte, under whom the programme started, congratulated the team at T&TEC for making the bulb distribution a reality. Le Hunte described the project as challenging, as there were a number of issues that delayed the project such as the Covid-19.

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