by JT | Jun 03,2012 | 23:02

AMMAN — The government has started applying a set of energy-saving measures to address inflation in the energy bill which stood at JD4 billion last year, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.

Revenues originated by these measures will constitute 26 per cent of the Kingdom’s energy bill which rose by 97 per cent in January this year, according to the Department of Statistics.

Building a terminal off the Port of Aqaba to receive and store liquefied gas, starting a company to import gas, adjusting prices of fuel derivatives and electricity are among these measures, which will also include replacing inefficient lighting with energy-saving systems in public institutions, Petra said.

Last week, the Cabinet approved a recommendation by the energy minister to float a tender for energy-saving lamps to be used in public institutions.

The government will equip public agencies with 600,000 of these devices at a total cost of JD1.6 million, according to Petra.

A campaign to raise public awareness on the importance of reducing electricity and fuel consumption will be launched as part of the government’s plan to address the energy issue that resulted mainly from unstable Egyptian gas supplies to the Kingdom.

Prime Minister Fayez Tarawneh, during a meeting attended by ministers, concerned officials and media representatives on Thursday, said that the precarious budget situation and the rise in the Kingdom’s annual electricity bill to $4.5 billion make it imperative to change consumer behaviour.

By cutting down on electricity consumption, citizens can reduce their electricity bills and the country’s overall fuel bill, he said, adding that the media should help raise public awareness in this regard.

Each citizen saving 1 per cent of his energy consumption will result in securing JD16 million every year, Petra said, adding that producing one kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity costs JD0.19, while the public on average pays JD0.082 per kWh with the government incurring the difference.

According to the Electricity Regulatory Commission’s estimates, the new electricity tariffs are expected to provide the electricity power sector with JD124 million this year, constituting 8 per cent of the sector’s loss which reached around JD1 billion in 2011 and is expected to amount to JD1.5 billion this year if the Egyptian gas supply to the Kingdom remains shaky, Petra said.

The government on Saturday raised electricity rates on households consuming over 600 kWh per month.

Petra also quoted Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources Alaa Batayneh as saying that the government subsidises electricity and fuel derivatives by JD1.4 billion and JD700 million every year, respectively, constituting one-third of the budget.