With electricity tariffs set to rise soon, there are several simple ways for consumers to reduce their energy bills, according to an energy conservation expert.
The household sector accounts for 21 percent of Jordan’s over JD4 billion energy bill, the expert noted, highlighting that this substantial figure can be cut down by adopting household-level measures.
The government this week said that it would raise electricity tariffs to counter an expected loss of more than JD1.5 billion in the energy sector resulting from a halt in Egyptian gas supplies.
In the meantime controlling household use of electricity is a shared responsibility of citizens and the government, which should encourage measures such as installing solar panels to benefit from the country’s abundant sunshine.
President of the Energy Conservation and Environment Sustainability Society Ayoub Abu Deyyeh advised people to check their houses for any electrical leaks.
“Switch off all of your electrical appliances and check the meter. If it continues running, then you have an electrical leak and you should consult an electrician. Leaks, which commonly happen in old houses, are caused by faulty wiring or worn-out wires,” Abu Deyyeh told The Jordan Times.
Electricity  leaks are very common and annually cost the country JD54 million, the energy conservation expert said, underscoring that power companies also shoulder the responsibility of checking on electric leaks at households.
A common practice that wastes electricity is leaving electrical appliances such as computers on standby mode, Abu Deyyeh said. “Whether they are computers, TV sets, stereos or radios, such devices use as much as 50 percent of power needed when they are turned on. What you should do instead is turn off the device,” he explained.
Jordan could save JD60 million annually if people turned off their electrical appliances instead of leaving them on standby mode, according to Abu Deyyeh.
Switching from incandescent lightbulbs to electricity-saving or LED bulbs is another major step people can take to reduce their energy bills, he underscored.
“A household using 20 ordinary 100-watt lightbulbs for five hours a day will pay an average of JD15 per month. If it switched to 15-watt energy-saving lightbulbs, it would only pay JD2.25 per month, thus reducing power use by 85 per cent,” Abu Deyyeh said.
If there are one million electricity meters in Jordan, a total of JD150 million can be saved every year if the public switches from ordinary bulbs to electricity-saving ones, according to the expert. Hussam Marai, a worker at an electrical appliance shop in west Amman, noted that demand for energy-saving lightbulbs was increasing.
“More people are learning about their benefits and how they can save money by using them. Many people are replacing ordinary bulbs with energy-saving ones,” Marai said.
Abu Deyyeh also advised against using high-load electrical appliances, such as heaters, and pointed out that solar panels are cheap, sustainable and clean substitutes.
“Jordan has retreated over the past few years in expanding the use of solar thermal collectors, which dropped from 15 per cent to 11 per cent,” he said. Solar thermal collectors, which absorb sunlight to capture heat, can be used to provide hot water and heating for households.
To increase the number of households using solar panels, the expert said the government should promote the use of solar energy by extending loans to households for installing solar panels.
“People can pay their debt to the government in their electricity bills. For example, the government can deduct the amount of the loan by adding a certain amount to the bill every month, depending on every household’s use of energy,” Abu Deyyeh proposed.
The Kingdom, which has 330 days of sunshine per year, has one of the highest annual daily averages of solar irradiance in the world, according to environmentalists. “If people installed solar panels, they would reduce their energy bills by 20 per cent,” Abu Deyyeh said.
In addition, he said, when shopping for new electrical devices, consumers should know that there are now appliances that save both water and energy.
“Always opt for appliances that are labelled energy or water efficient in order to use the least amount of both,” he said. Rima Abdul Lateef, a civil engineer, said she follows this practice when shopping for home appliances. “I recently bought a green-labelled washing machine. The salesman told me that it uses minimum amounts of water and electricity, which is very convenient given that water prices were raised and the electricity tariff will follow,” the mother of two said. Wise use of washing machines and refrigerators also makes a difference in a household’s energy bill, Abu Deyyeh noted.
“Fully load washing machines before running them and avoid opening the fridge frequently, as it will consume more electricity to cool off the food whenever the door is opened,” he advised.
The energy conservation expert also urged the government to introduce smart electricity meters, which shows consumers when electricity loads and tariffs are at their lowest.