Thursday, December 17, 2009

Electricity Savings Incentive


How to Reduce Electricity Usage

Ireland, like most other developed countries, badly needs to cut down on carbon emissions and generally reduce or at least stabilise projected energy consumption. In it’s recent emergency budget, Ireland has imposed a “carbon tax” on fuel, I am pretty sure it will have little or no impact on usage. I think this because a carbon tax is a negative motivation and does not positively reward using less fuel.

A Positive Incentive

I have been thinking about a positive incentive based on domestic electricity usage. A similar system could be worked out for business' but would be much more complex to operate.

The idea is basically to have a tariff system that rewards low users. The cost per unit of power would be say 10% lower than the current norm for the first step. This would allow careful users to keep their electricity bills really low. There would then be a higher rate for the next step by adding say 15%, and finally a top rate for very heavy users would be at a much higher cost of say plus a further 20%.

Something like the following:

Basic cost per unit of say 13 cent.
Next step of tariff costs 15 cent.
Top rate tariff would cost 18 cent per unit.
(just a rough example)

For the first 12 months, there could be an allowance for those with electrical storage heating. This would give those householders time to change to other forms of heating and avail of grants for sustainable energy solutions. At the end of the first year, the new tariff system would apply across the board.

Effective but not Popular

Its introduction would be far from popular, but because money is such a strong motivator, it would be a very successful means of reducing the national electrical requirement, modifying the huge bill for imported fuels, and reducing carbon emissions over coming years. It would also encourage a different way of thinking about power usage and that in turn would encourage insulation and the use of low powered lighting systems.

How Many Politicians does it take to change a Light Bulb?

On the back of such a motivating power tariff system, the introduction of simple and effective energy saving strategies are essential. IMHO the single most effective and also the simplest to implement would be a really big push and promotion to have every last light bulb in the country replaced with CFL, LED, or at least halogen bulbs. This alone would make a huge reduction in our future energy requirements.

The half-arsed approach the Irish government has currently adopted to changing the light bulb in Ireland will take years and years to have much of an effect. We need to re-think the strategy!!


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