By Hannah Reid
CAYMAN ISLANDS, Grand Cayman – The ministry of sustainability and climate resiliency is launching a new programme to provide energy efficiency retrofits for eligible Caymanian homeowners struggling with high utility bills.
The Cayman Home Energy Efficiency Retrofits (CHEER) Programme will implement energy-saving retrofits for lower-income families in small homes facing high monthly utility bills. Priority consideration will be given to the elderly, families with children, and persons with diagnosed health conditions. The ministry has contracted local non-profit organisation Resilience Cayman to deliver the programme.
Premier and minister for sustainability and climate resiliency Wayne Panton said the new programme is the latest in a series of initiatives designed to help advance the twin goals of the implementation of the National Energy Policy and helping to lower the cost of living for Caymanians.
“Saving energy saves money. These retrofits will help lower the cost of living for people in our community who are struggling with the high cost of electricity,” he said, noting that strategy 3.3.9 of the National Energy Policy specifically speaks to energy efficiency retrofits of existing buildings.
“The new CHEER Programme is one of several programmes the PACT government has launched since 2021 to address the escalating cost of living crisis and rising energy costs. Last year, we launched the Electricity Assistance Programme to offer direct subsidies to residential customers with monthly consumption between 101 and 2,000 kilowatt hours – an initiative which benefitted more than 22,000 households across the Cayman Islands. We also waived the import duty on energy-efficient devices and building materials; and the Ministry of Sustainability & Climate Resiliency achieved two grants from RESEMBID – the Resilience, Sustainable Energy and Marine Biodiversity Programme – to improve energy efficiency in public sector buildings and Government-built affordable homes.”
Under the CHEER Programme, approved homes will undergo an energy audit, conducted by a trained energy professional, prior to receiving tailored energy-saving upgrades such as: insulation, upgraded air conditioning, sealing the building envelope, LED lighting, Energy Star-rated appliance upgrades or smart thermostats.
Resilience Cayman chairperson Jan Gupta, said:
“The programme is very timely and welcomed by many families in Cayman who are struggling to keep up with their energy bills, especially as we enter the hottest months. It will also provide us with an opportunity to assist many homeowners to retrofit their homes towards a more sustainable energy future.”
To be eligible for the programme, applicants should satisfy the following criteria:
You are Caymanian;
You own your home and you are living in it;
Your total household income is CI$4000/month or less;
Your home is no more than 2,500 square feet gross floor space; and,
Your monthly energy consumption is 2000 kWh or more.
Premier Panton said the CHEER Programme is a prime example of how sustainability measures that balance society, environment and economy can improve quality of life for Caymanians.
“This summer’s record heat demonstrates that the energy crisis, the cost of living crisis and the climate crisis are all interlinked,” he explained. “Programmes like this one that support our people, our economy and our environment, help make the Cayman Islands more sustainable, benefitting current and future generations.”
In this initial phase of the project, the ministry has allocated $500,000 towards energy efficiency retrofits. Once this funding has been utilised, the ministry will evaluate the programme implementation and consider opportunities for extending the initiative, subject to the approval of additional funding.