Energy efficiency remains a key part of PURA strategy as well as a national policy objective. It is very important particularly since the current utility network loses are exceptionally high around 25%. Thus saving on energy consumption can help both consumer and operators. Over the last decade significant investment has been made in the generation infrastructure of the country to meet the growing demand for electricity as well as major improvements in the transmission and distribution of electricity.
This addressed some of the issues in the supply side of the problem. However the whilst the gap between supply and demand has been narrowed, the demand for electricity is not stagnant. Correspondingly it may be prudent to reduce and slow down the growth in demand through an energy conservation program.
The Government of The Gambia has also adopted a policy of discriminating against the use of incandescent light bulbs in all government buildings including those of public enterprises. All lighting must be from fluorescent tubes or CFL bulbs.
There are financial and environmental benefits associated with such a policy as energy consumption would obviously reduce. PURA took this Policy Directive further by replacing all the incandescent bulbs in its then Office along the Bertil Harding Highway in December 2007 and currently saved more than D42,000 annually on its utility bills!
The biggest consumption of electric energy in Gambian households is for lighting, entertainment (TVs, etc) and refrigeration. Any demand side management would call for the energy saving lighting as a priority. Air conditioning in office buildings also takes up significant amounts of energy consumption by businesses.
Consumer Awareness Campaigns
From the Diagram above, it is clear that the solution to satisfying our energy demand would involve both demand side management and infrastructure investments. Thus to raise awareness PURA been conducting sensitisation programmes since January 2008 on all media as well as making presentations for key stakeholders such as hotels as well as sponsoring pilot demonstrations projects to promote the use of Compact Flourescent Lamps (CFLs).