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Controlling energy costs

Aug 03,2019 - Last updated at Aug 03,2019

Minister of State for Media Affairs Jumana Ghunaimat assured the country on Tuesday that there will be no hike in electricity rates "during the upcoming period”.

This news comes as a big relief to the people, especially during the long, hot summer days and nights, when temperatures soar and customers are forced to use their air conditioners or fans more than usual to cool off.

Ghunaimat said that the energy sector’s current strategy seeks to lower production costs. However, the government also needs to tackle other important factors that contribute to the Kingdom’s fat energy bill and thus high electricity costs, and those are, inter alia, electricity theft, inefficient energy consumption and weak integration of renewable energy sources in the electricity grid.

The public knows only too well that electricity theft is still rampant in many parts of the country, especially in the Jordan Valley region. As long as electricity theft continues, there is no way the authorities can manage to keep energy cost low.

Electricity users as well, be it for private or industrial consumption, are expected to lend more support to the government's bid to keep prices low enough, by rationalising their electricity consumption. It takes a joint effort by all stakeholders to keep energy costs manageable, and this is the least that all sides are expected to do to prevent sudden hikes in electricity bills!

On the other hand, some big farmers are still misusing electricity for their production. It is a puzzle why the government is not encouraging or promoting the use of solar energy for pumping water for the irrigation of farms, big or small.

Solar-powered pumps are now a standard system of irrigation in most countries blessed with solar energy throughout the year, and the Jordan Valley can surely rely on solar energy for most of the year.

The absence of a policy to promote the use of solar energy for powering pumps is a big disappointment! What better way to keep energy costs low than to rely more and more on clean, renewable and sustainable sources of energy, such as solar and wind energy!

Jordan is committed to the Sustainable Development Goals, which list “access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all”, as one of the ways to achieving a better and more sustainable living to all mankind. The country has a lot in the direction of greater reliance on wind and solar energy. What is left undone is a widespread public reliance on these two forms of energy.

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