IT'S rare when a business, especially a start-up, has something good to say about JPS, but the nation's sole electricity distributor isn't always at fault, said Jason Robinson, CEO of Solar Buzz Jamaica.
Bad wiring, inefficient equipment and poor practices, issues his seven-month-old energy management company addresses, are often the reasons for high monthly electricity bills, said Robinson, "We teach people how to conserve through energy audits and assessment, energy-efficient products, and solar solutions."
Among the products supplied by Solar Buzz is an energy monitor that shows electricity use in both kilowatt-hours and in dollars.
OWL, a white device the size of a bedside clock, is wirelessly connected to a building's breaker system and accounts for energy used. It's very accurate when compared to the JPS reading, said Robinson. During a demonstration, the monitor showed use falling instantly when a bulb was turned off and then being cut by more than half when an air-conditioning unit shuts down.
"We're using psychology. When you have a monitor spinning with how much you're spending, you will turn it off pretty quickly," he said. It also makes people aware of abnormal use that may suggest something was left on. OWL is also used for commercial energy assessments.
Getting started proved more difficult than Robinson had expected. Coming from California — where people are big on conservation — he thought Jamaicans would have "jumped on that path". They didn't. But he has still managed to significantly grow his business through strong online marketing activities of the money-saving aspects.
Solar Buzz is focusing more on the commercial market rather than residential for its solar power units, he said. Companies don't need expensive batteries to store the energy they generate for night-time use as they close before then. And if they are open later, they can rely on JPS.
The company also distributes pool pumps, which Robinson said are 90 per cent more energy-efficient than most of those in use locally.