Suriname government says energy saving campaign bearing fruit

Map of Suriname. 3d

PARAMARIBO, Suriname, Monday September 1, 2014, CMC – Less than a week after the Suriname government announced plans to turn off air conditioning units as part of an energy saving plan, the electricity company, EBS, says it has now launched a campaign calling on consumers to use 50 per cent or less energy.

The company said its “Smart with Current” campaign should alert residents to significantly reduce their use of electricity as the Dutch-speaking Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country battles with an energy crisis.

“There has been 17 megawatts less demand in the past couple of days,” the EBS said in a statement, noting that the drop in demand has enabled it not to implement a heavy load shed schedule as in recent days.

“We had more power to share among our customers,” the company said, adding that if the savings continued, the load shedding could stop.

“The ideal savings would be 30 megawatts. If we could have continued energy savings that would guarantee undisturbed energy supply for the next couple of days as well.”

EBS said the “Smart with Current” campaign would continue saying “it is crucial that we utilize the available energy responsibly so the demand does not exceed the supply”.

Officials here say water in the Afobaka reservoir in District Brokopondo is 2.40 meters lower than usual resulting in a drastic decline in the supply to EBS by the Afobaka hydro-energy plant from 100 to 70 megawatts.

EBS has been load shedding leaving many neighbourhoods without electricity.

Last week, President Desi Bouterse said while the energy shortage is caused by a natural phenomenon, the government still owed the nation an apology on how it had been dealing with the crisis.

“The energy shortage is caused by the El Nino weather event, which is a circumstance beyond our control,” Bouterse said, adding his administration had been warned but failed to take action on a timely basis.

El Ninos, caused by periodic warmings of the tropical Pacific, occur every two to seven years and are associated with warmer-than-average years. The last El Nino was from 2009 to 2010.

Earlier this year it was forecast that a strong El Niño could emerge in 2014, perhaps similar to the monster event in 1997-98 that severely affected weather patterns across the globe.

Bouterse said a stronger focus would now be placed on completing the new energy network that according to the contract should be completed in January next year.
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