The Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation (SIDF) partnered with the Ministry of Energy to execute a major campaign aimed at lowering electricity cost and promoting the use of renewable energy.
A two-part subsidy to bring financial relief to consumers was introduced in 2013 during the first phase of the campaign. By bearing the Customs Service Charge on fuel that would have been passed on by St. Kitts Electricity Company Limited (SKELEC) to all consumers, SIDF prevented an increase in electricity rates. Additionally, a tiered method of subsidizing residential consumers’ charges based on kilowatt usage was implemented by SIDF in collaboration with SKELEC. Consumers are rewarded by having a higher percentage of their bill paid when they move to a lower usage tier. The total monthly cost to SIDF to provide the subsidy is just over EC$1,000,000.
An Energy Conservation Fair was a major activity to raise consciousness about the need to save electricity and explore alternative sources of energy. The Fair attracted thousands of curious persons who were educated about energy-saving appliances, and learnt practical measures to conserve electricity in their homes and offices. Demonstrations by exhibitors on the use of solar rooftop panels and other solar powered devices generated much interest.
A Light Exchange and Distribution (LED) project was implemented in the second phase of the campaign in 2014. The project involved replacing all incandescent bulbs in the homes of all residential consumers with LED bulbs which are expected to reduce the carbon footprint for light consumption by 70-80%, resulting in a cleaner environment and more savings for families. This phase will also see the start of a project in which solar rooftop panels will be installed on new and existing homes and the continuation of exploratory work into the use of geothermal and wind energy.
In its dual role as an executing agent and the financier of the campaign, SIDF is helping to ease the financial burden on families, and reduce the heavy dependence on fossil fuel in favour of renewable sources of energy.