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JANAAC Urges Energy Providers to Become Accredited

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The Jamaica National Agency for Accreditation (JANAAC) will be working more closely with the energy sector over the next year to encourage service providers to become accredited, thereby boosting consumer confidence.

The thrust to target the energy sector stems from the theme for World Accreditation Day (WAD), ‘Delivering confidence in the provision of energy’. The day was observed on June 9.

Speaking at a Jamaica Information Service Think Tank held on Wednesday, June 11, at the agency’s head offices in Kingston, Acting Chief Executive Officer of JANAAC, Claudette Brown, pointed out that this year, WAD is seeking to create awareness and linkages with individuals in the energy sector, particularly in the area of renewables.

“We hope to work with persons in testing, inspection, solar panel installation, development or the production of the solar panels, because if the providers are accredited, then consumers will have confidence in the products or services that are offered,” Mrs. Brown said.

Noting for example labels indicating energy usage and requirements on appliances, she remarked “how can we ensure that we are getting the efficiency levels that they indicate or claim if the testing labs are not accredited?”

Meanwhile, Associate Vice President in charge of Sustainable Energy at the University of Technology (UTech), Dr. Ruth Potopsingh noted that over the past five years Jamaica has experienced significant growth in the number of companies involved in the renewable energy sector.

“It is good for us to consider building an industry that we can be proud of and that is safe in terms of the output and that we are secured in terms of the service that is provided. We need to be looking at accreditation both from the technical and service side,” she stated.

She noted that the National Energy Policy outlines that as of 2020, Jamaica’s energy mix will comprise 20 per cent renewable energy. This is to move up to 30 per cent by 2030.

“This will have implications for an energy industry that is clean, affordable, sustainable and accessible to the majority of persons,” Dr. Potopsingh said.

Chairman of JANAAC, Dr. Cliff Riley, said the agency is seeking to help consumers understand the importance of accreditation in all sectors.

“Similarly to how the students ask universities about the accreditation of their programmes, we want to get to a place where people are within the frame of mind to understand how accreditation will protect their safety and boost the economy,” he said.

The United Nations (UN) has issued a declaration for a decade for Sustainable Energy for All (2014 to 2024), underscoring the importance of energy issues for sustainable development. Jamaica is part of this process.

By Shelly-Ann Irving

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