Paulwell repeats call for Gov't to embrace solar technology to reduce electricity theft, costSunday, October 17, 2021
Opposition spokesman on energy, Phillip Paulwell, is again urging the government to consider solar as a way to reduce electricity theft and bring down costs for paying customers of the Jamaica Public Service Company.
Paulwell wants the government to use some of the proceeds of the hedge fund to do so. He has argued that this was one of the reasons why the tax was established in the first place.
He made the comments on Tuesday as he contributed to the debate on the report of the First Supplementary Estimates of Expenditure in the House of Representatives.
The Opposition spokesman repeated the call he first made in April during his sectoral presentation. At that time he said solar technology should be used to remove the estimated 200,000 illegal connections from the grid. He emphasised that this would have the effect of driving down costs for legitimate customers.
“We can over a five-year period – it will cost you $20 billion – but you can get all of those 200,000 people from the grid and free up the cost so that the legitimate users will be able to see a reduction by 17.5 per cent,” Paulwel said then.
On Tuesday, he again urged the government to intervene.
“I believe that there are solutions and I believe that it is the responsibility of the government to participate in those solutions because it's a socio-economic problem that affects so many of our poorer people,” he stated.
Paulwell, who himself uses solar energy at his private residence and who a decade ago admitted that the initial cost was prohibitive for many people, said things have changed.
“It's [now] affordable, the price has come down and with the improvements in the technology for battery storage, you will be able to do so at a fraction of the cost than you would do 10 years ago,” he argued.
According to the energy spokesman, it was time for the country to once and for all solve this “everlasting problem” of electricity theft and high energy bills.
“If we start to address the issue of electricity theft we could kill two birds with one stone. Because when you pay your electricity bill today, 17 per cent of that is to pay for the theft but the technology now provides some solution and in fact it is in the realm of solar technology that I believe that we can meaningfully assist those who can't afford it to get their electricity without having to steal it,” he insisted.