WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 30: I nearly choked when I got my August BELCO bill — it was nearly $800.

I realize that the air conditioners were working extra time, but it’s only my wife and I who live in my house.

So when the Department of Energy launched ‘Energy Limbo: How Low Can You Go?’ contest, I signed up within three minutes of knowing about it.

This is an energy cutback competition, which sees participants compete for the biggest reduction in their electricity use over the course of almost a year.

The Department is seeking 20 volunteers who wish to compete in the challenge, which features a $600 travel voucher as the grand prize.

Besides myself, Marc Bean, Environment Minister, director of Energy Jeane Nikolai and Permanent Secretary for the Environment, Dr. Derrick Binns, will also be taking part, but they will only be passive participants rather than competitors.

Before the competition starts in January, the Department will supply and install an electronic energy metre into participants’ homes.

This metre will provide real-time info about electricity consumption on competitors’ computers.

Every month contestants will check in with Department of Energy staff to share their electric bills which will then be compared with participants’ historical data to assess progress.


They will also give advice and guidance to participants who aren’t reducing consumption as much as they would like and inform contestants on a monthly basis as to how they are measuring up in comparison with the other contestants.

Minister Bean said by doing a few small steps, homeowners can save hundreds of dollars each year.

He added: “We believe that without doing very much that’s different to their current behaviours, the average resident can save 15 per cent off their bills by just being aware of obvious energy waste.


“If an average homeowner pays about $350 per month on their electric bills, then that’s a potential savings of more than $600 per year — that could be going toward many other things. Through this contest, we hope to see ordinary people saving far more than that, and have them sharing their experiences of success with the public.”

To be honest, if my average bill was $350 a month, I would be ecstatic.

I can see the dollars rolling off my bill now as I don’t think I had any month that was that low.

If you want to participate too you’ll need a residence with its own metre, a wireless Internet connection with a home computer, and a copy of your electric bills from January of this year. 

Eligible participants need only share the past year’s worth of electric bills with the Department, and they must be homeowners or tenants with landlord permission. 

Actual billing information will be kept confidential, as it’s only the percentage of savings that will be revealed to the public.

This contest will begin in January, and will go for ten months through the end of October.  The winner and the runners-up will be announced in Caricom Energy Week of 2012, to celebrate energy awareness.

The first place winner will receive a $600 travel voucher and the top three competitors will be permitted to keep their metering device.

The contest is limited 20 participants. Registration will be on a first come, first serve basis, and will be capped at twenty contestants. Those interested should contact the Department of Energy at

Enter the contest
The contest is limited to the first 20 participants.
Those interested should contact the Department of Energy at