Editorial for 13 June: Help cut down on energy costs

The cost of living in the Cayman Islands has just gone up again thanks to our sole provider of electricity.

The Cayman Islands Electricity Regulatory Authority has approved a rate base increase of 1.8 per cent effective 1 June for Caribbean Utilities Company customers, which means the base rate will be increased from $10.46 to $10.65 cents per kilowatt-hour.

While it doesn’t look like much money on the face of it, factor in fuel costs and we’re all looking at higher electricity bills going forward.

Fortunately, there are things energy consumers can do to keep their power bills down.

Start with your air conditioning system, which can contribute as much as 50 per cent to 70 per cent of your total electricity bill, depending on hours of usage, maintenance and operating efficiency. The simple step of bumping up the temperature of your air conditioning setting can help lower your bill.

You can also help keep your home cool during the day by closing draperies and shades on windows to keep heat from the sun out of your house.

Heating water is another big energy expense at home. It can account for 14 per cent to 25 per cent of the energy you consume, according to CUC’s website, which offers great tips on how to reduce energy consumption.

Advice to cut water consumption includes repairing leaky faucets, which can waste gallons of water, and installing aerating, low-flow faucets and shower heads.

While you’re at it, take a good look at your hot water heater. If it’s more than seven years old, start doing some research on newer models and consider replacing your old unit. While it may seem like an expensive exercise up front, the money you save on your energy bill can more than pay for a new unit over time. Other energy saving ideas include unplugging battery chargers when electronic devices are fully charged, as well as replacing old light bulbs with energy-efficient lighting.

While our rates may be going up, there are things we can do at home and at work to reduce energy consumption.

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