Charlestown, Nevis (April 18, 2007)
Despite a minor setback of a delayed shipment of supplies from their homeland, a number of visiting Cuban social workers began their task of replacing thousands of incandescent bulbs in households on Nevis to energy saving bulbs, a project Junior Minister Hon. Carlisle Powell responsible for Utilities said, would save the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) a total of US$1.4million annually.
Mr. Powell told the Department of Information, that the project which is referred to as the Incandescent Bulbs Replacement Programme is part of a goodwill gesture by the Cuban government extended to select islands in the Caribbean.
“Based on the report done for us by the Cubans, it could mean saving the island up to a total of US$1.4 million per year and this divided between savings on fuel and electricity consumption. The Cubans are looking at changing approximately 54,000 light bulbs during this period. I think that it is a significant undertaking by the Cubans.“The saving is significant because it means not investing that money in electricity for the Government and from the Nevis Electricity Company Limited’s (NEVLEC) point having that money to invest in other areas to improve the company. For the householder it obviously means savings because they would be able to save this money from utility bills and invest that money in other ways of improving the family,” he said.
He added that the savings would enable government to keep a reserve which would be used to improve other aspects of life on Nevis.
Mr. Powell said in an effort to assist with the effective implementation of the programme, the Administration had been requested to provide accommodation in the form of a Community Centre, meals for 30 persons, transportation to move the workforce and transport the bulbs and a total of 30 local volunteers. The workers have been placed at the Community Centre on Hanleys Road.
The Minister disclosed that the Cubans were looking to replace an estimated 54,000 bulbs over a period of 15 working days. Each social worker is expected to visit 10 housing units daily to replace an average of 120 incandescent light bulbs. The teams work schedule ranges from 2pm to 7pm from Mondays to Fridays and from 8am to 6pm Saturdays.
Meantime, he noted that while the programme intended to change every light bulb in household throughout Nevis, bulbs would be made available for replacement purposes.
“The programme is not only a programme of exchanging light bulbs but from discussions with the Cuban they are also bringing in some extra light bulbs that we will be able to have available for people at a cost. The initial exchange is free.
“I am sure that people will take the opportunity to ensure that they have those replacement bulbs. We [NIA] will have to make sure that the bulbs are available for the people, so that when they want to change their bulbs they would be there”¦If we don’t people will go back to the cheaper light bulbs which they are accustom to and we will defeat the purpose,” he said.
The Incandescent Bulbs Replacement Programme concluded in St. Kitts recently before the team headed to Nevis.