ST JOHN’S, Antigua – A push to standardise appliance energy labelling throughout the OECS might lead to reduced energy costs and energy consumption for Antiguans and Barbudans.
The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) is launching an energy audit survey in order to create energy efficiency ratings and labelling for appliances throughout the region.
Antigua & Barbuda, St Lucia and Grenada were selected to be the sampling countries where data will be collected.
“At the end … each country will now have to adopt this standard as their national standard,” Director of the Bureau of Standards, Dianne Lalla-Rodrigues said in an interview with OBSERVER Media.
“These bits of equipment on which those labels will have to be applied will either have to come in with this label or the importer will have to put this label on it. The intention is that it will be mandatory…”
She added, “We are all complaining about high energy rates and we are all talking about alternative sources of energy and reducing our energy consumption. Not only at a cost to us, but a cost to the environment, especially when we are using energy that is based on fossil fuel.”
Currently, appliances are labelled with information that has been compiled by manufacturers in its country of origin. However, Lalla-Rodrigues says that creating labelling and standards for the particular conditions within the region is necessary.
“We have different methods of transmitting; we have different ways that we are using; we have different rates that we pay and even the standard rate per unit is adjusting based on the fuel surcharge so all of that has to be taken into consideration,” the bureau director said.
Approximately 100 homes are slated to be surveyed on island. Local assessors will visit homes in specified communities to check the efficiency of appliances, including air conditioning units, fans, washing machines, exterior lighting and transformers. The specific communities in Antigua & Barbuda have not yet been solidified.
The Statistics Division, Bureau of Standards and Energy Desk in the Prime Minister’s Office are working in concert with the OECS Secretariat to implement the audit.
Girvan Pigott, an APUA project engineer seconded to the Energy Desk, noted that after the ratings are implemented, local importers would be forced to bring in more efficient products, as customers would be more educated.
“…You’d find some of these appliance stores would be bringing in lower quality appliances and we don’t know that, we just look at the cost,” the engineer said. “Then when you are actually given the tools to inform you and everything is in front of you, you can make a wiser decision.”
Lalla-Rodrigues said that once the assessments have concluded, the new labelling guidelines would be implemented within a two-year period.
The energy efficiency ratings and labels will be for six independent OECS nations including Antigua & Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Lucia, St Kitts & Nevis, and St Vincent & the Grenadines.
The project is slated to run in the three test countries between June 29 and July 6 and is funded by the European Union/African Caribbean and Pacific Energy Facility, the German foreign aid agency and the OECS Secretariat.