My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: GOJ and Government Ministry's Energy Usage - Senator Audley Shaw and the Langoliers

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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

GOJ and Government Ministry's Energy Usage - Senator Audley Shaw and the Langoliers


A poor life this is, full of care
We have no time to stand around and stare.

W.H. Davies, Leisure

In Jamaica, you know that a topic is a serious moot point for discussion when it appears not once, not twice, but thrice in the same year in the newspaper in the same year.

So Audley Shaw, Minister of Finance, has come out singing the Energy Conservation song to the Government Ministries as stated in the article “Cut Energy Use, Finance Minister Tell State Bodies”, published Wednesday April 20, 2011, The Jamaica Gleaner.

This as he has now had to allocate an additional JA$1.5 billion dollars to deal with additional Energy costs associated with running Government of Jamaica Ministries.

Apparently, I should later expect the JPS Co (Jamaica Public Service Company), our Monopoly PUC (Power Utility Company) which is a publicly listed entity, to declare that this has been another record year of profits.

All thanks to price gouging and the increasing price of Oil on the World Market.

So you declare “like duh”, did I not read this same story in The Sunday Gleaner entitled “Lights Out! Call for Drastic Cuts in Public Sector Energy Bill”, published Sunday April 17, 2011 by Erica Virtue, Senior Gleaner Writer, The Jamaica Gleaner.

At The Jamaica Gleaner Editor’s Forum, even Attorney-at-Law and self-styled Political Commentator Dr Paul Ashley spoke the words I love to hear and I used to echo while at C&W as a Network Maintenance Technician (2001 to 2004), quote: “All Ministries must now go solar”.

Comments by Financial Secretary Wesley Hughes at the PAAC (Public Administration and Appropriations Committee) of Parliament in March 2011 are echoed in both articles above, quote: “Most of the Ministries and departments failed to realise the 15 per cent savings in Usage that we have targeted”.

True too are the comments of another political commentator and University Lecturer on Politics, Richard “Dickie” Crawford, with an eye on the Rising Fuel Prices, who noted, quote: “The first thing really is to reduce the cost of Energy”.

My blog article entitled “Alternative Energy and the Revalued Dollar - Cheaper Electricity is Needed” concurs! LNG should be a part of the mix, both for Electricity Generation as stated in my blog article entitled “Alternative Energy and BioFuels - LNG is the beginning”.

As well as a Fuel for Vehicles modified to run on LPG (Liquid Petroleum Gas), its bottled cousin along with a thriving Bio-Fuel Sector in my more recent blog article that ties it all together entitled “Jamaican Gasoline Prices and Transportation Future - Solaris

Ditto too for Nuclear Power in a Net metering scenario as stated in my blog article entitled “Nuclear Power and Net Metering – Paulwell’s Energy Sector Liberalization Chess Game

Oddly, these set of Jamaica Gleaner articles do not present a detailed breakdown of which Ministries spend what amount of money on Electricity and other utilities (yes, humans use water too!! And Vehicles use Gasoline!! Did they forget?).

No mention of Water in either story.  Or Fuel consumption by Government of Jamaica Vehicles. These are all products of Electricity Usage and directly link back to our US$2 billion Oil Importation Bill, which is also out of control.

In these expenditure too, there is room for a 15%, even 50% reduction of waste, which is more desirable; run on Solar and Wind power in the Daytime and JPS Co Power at night. Should I even begin to mention the lack of computerization of the Ministries, most of which are drowning in Paper?

Or mention the over JA$600 million paid over to Software companies as stated in the article  Gov't to pay JA$600 million to renew software licenses”, published Wednesday, February 16, 2011, The Jamaica Observer?

Microsoft got US$3.3 million (JA$283 million) being earmarked to pay for three (3) years of unauthorized software in its various Government Agencies. Money which they could have saved by going Open Source as I had suggested in my blog article entitled “GOJ and Project JosephOS Requiem - Open Source Linux Penguin in Happy Feet”.

Areas of Waste to be capitalized on to make the GOJ efficient.

Especially in the light of the fact that our most northerly Neighbors, the US of A, is going Alternative in all of its Government Federal and State Agencies as reported in my blog article entitled “Alternative Energy and the President - Three Days of the Condor”.

Open Source is not too far behind, as the Barack Obama-led Administration is going to Google’s Open Source Chrome OS  and the Cloud to the tune of US$6.7 billion to save on Government Software licenses to Microsoft and achieve streamlined efficiency and security on a budget as stated in my blog article entitled “GOJ and Project JosephOS Requiem - Open Source Linux Penguin in Happy Feet”.

This means I shall have to wait for The Jamaica Observer, late as usual, to charge in like the Calvary. Most likely with their article on Water Usage to add a new angle to The Jamaica Gleaner trifecta of articles!

“Trifecta of articles”, you say? Wait, me nuh dun yet, star!!

Their is an article prior to all this noise been raised by the recent threats of strike action by the PNP (People’s National Party) over high Petroleum and Electricity costs, to which the JLP (Jamaica Labour Party) acceded as chronicled faithfully in my blog article entitled “Ad Valorem Gas, 10 percent GCT on Electricity and Alternative Energy - Night and Day

Prime Minister Bruce Golding, Leader of the JLP (Jamaica Labour Party), committed US$90 million of Government of Jamaica Tax revenues to reduce the Government of Jamaica’s  frighteningly huge JA$10 billion Electricity Bill as stated in the Editorial in The Jamaica Gleaner entitled “Government to start saving Energy”, published Sunday February 13, 2011, The Jamaica Gleaner.

Also, The Jamaica Gleaner article prior to this entire ruckus was way more detailed and informative as it laid out the statistics (my favourite thing to read in a newspaper!!) provide by the Ministry of Energy and Mining that spread the following facts bare:

The Total Annual Cost of Electricity Consumption by all Government Agencies for 2010 was estimated at $10.4 billion.

  1. The Total Annual Government Agency Electricity Consumption for 2010 is to 392.2 GWh (gigawatt hours)

  1. Eight of the Government of Jamaica Ministries and Agencies are responsible for 89% of this amount

  1. The NWC (National Water Commission) consumed the lion’ share coming in at 191 GWh

In terms of Percentage of Total Cost, of interest to the Accounts inclined (to me as Telecoms Technicians, these are just percentage figures):

  1. NWC is 42%
  2. Street lighting is 21%
  3. Health Sector (Ministry, Public Hospitals, clinics, etc) is 7%
  4. Education (Ministry, Schools of all categories) is 7%
  5. Civil Aviation is 4%
  6. Security and Justice Ministries (Jamaica Constabulary Force, courthouses) is 4%
  7. JDF (Jamaica Defense Force) is 2%
  8. Ministry of Agriculture inclusive of Irrigation is 2%
  9. The remaining Government Ministries and Agencies account for the 11%

Still no detailed accounting of which Ministry consumed what amount of Electricity, key to identifying waste in any Power Audit of a company. Most likely, however, from Experience, Air Conditioning, Computer Servers (if any!!), Water Pumps, in the case of the NWC or any equipment that had to be constantly on to provide reliable service would be target for Solar and Wind Turbine Installations.

That would naturally be where the waste is occurring and hence the large Electricity Bill. Thus the call by Dr Paul Ashley is spot on: Solar Power to reduce the expenditure on Electricity in the areas of Jamaican Government Ministries and Agencies that are constant heavy consumers of Electrical Energy.

The date of The Jamaica Gleaner article was Sunday February 13th, 2011AD! That makes it three (3) articles. Thus you know that this topic is a serious moot point for discussion in the public Forum.

So far only The Jamaica Gleaner is taking interest, so I shall forgive them for the boring layout of their website, as obviously The Jamaica Observer is all flash and no bang!

The Jamaica Gleaner even beat the  Jamaica Observer, which has paid scant regard to GOJ Ministry and Agency Electricity woes since the start of the year 2011.

This initiative mentioned in the article above is called the ECE Programme (Energy Conservation Efficiency) is geared towards  15% reduction in Energy consumption in both Government Ministries and state Agencies for now and the foreseeable future.

So far, the Government of Jamaica has failed to heed my words in 2009 when in argument with a bunch of so-called Shurpower Generator Engineers, I pointed out that the main expenditure of Government of Jamaica and the US Government was Electricity.

As I prophesied, the GOJ pursued LNG and the US Government has finally decided to go Solar with the help of Energy Secretary Steven Chu as stated in the as stated in the article “White House to install rooftop Solar Panels”, published October 5, 2010 5:19 AM PDT by Martin LaMonica, CNET News - Green Tech,

Good to note that this ECE Programme, which came to light on Sunday February 13, 2011 seemed to coincide with the Libyan Oil Crisis.

This Libyan Crisis, a fight for freedom by the people of Libya from their dictator and President-for-Life Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's (“Gadaffi” is spelt with a “Q” in Egypt) is a foreign play on the World stage that has a conspiratorial tone.

This due to the low level importance of Libyan Oil to the American Economy now flushed with Natural Gas as my blog article entitled “Libyan Freedom, Oil Prices and alternative Energy - The Pelican Brief” opines.

So now the PNP Strike Crisis has prodded these above two (2) articles back-to-back out of The Jamaica Gleaner on an issue that is apparently a hot potato and Lighting Rod for Radio Talk show Discussion and Gleaner Editor Forums.

This as no-one in the Government of Jamaica seems to wish to tackle the onerous task of Solarizing and Wind Turbine procurement and the associated Energy systems needed to take the Government of Jamaica off the Grid.

Except Senator Audley Shaw, Minister of Finance, as apparently he is being chased by the Horror Author Stephen King’s The Langoliers (TV 1995) for being a bit late on this now glaring of issues during the much vaulted and televised Budget Debate 2011-2012.
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