EghtesadOnline: The government decision to exempt schools from paying water and electricity bills will impose an added burden on schools, society and the nation as whole, the energy minister said Sunday.
Speaking on the sidelines of the 11th International Renewable Energy, Lighting & Energy Saving Exhibition in Tehran, Reza Ardakanian said the measure announced by the government would lead to higher power consumption in schools, ILNA reported.
When water and electricity is consumed freely and excessively in schools, “it would apparently be difficult to convince schoolchildren to use energy judiciously,” he said.
Last October schools across the country were exempted from paying electricity and water bills. The move was said to be in the context of government plans to reduce the amount of money parents were required (in many cases forced by the school management on different pretexts) to pay to be able to enroll their children, Financial Tribune reported.
“Last year (Oil Minister) Bijan Namdar Zanganeh and I told the Ministry of Education that we could allocate it funds instead of not sending schools water and electricity bills,” Ardakanian was quoted as saying by ILNA.
“We had considered $7 million for the Ministry of Education,” he said, adding that even lawmakers had been informed that the decision would eventually have a negative effect on schoolchildren and their training.
However, the Majlis went its own way and ratified the law that allows schools to use free water and power.
Not heeding judicious consumption patterns is another problem the country is dealing with, the minister complained.
Average global electricity consumption rises by less than 3% per annum. Iran's demand for power jumps to over 6% every year – a pattern that has been causing concern among experts, environmentalists and conservationists long pleading for effective action to curb consumption.
Official data shows that while the world's energy consumption increased 27% in the past decade, Iran's overall energy use rose by a whopping 80%" in the same period.
Such imprudence has made Iran the 18th largest power consumer in the world. "Consumption patterns should be reconsidered by adopting efficient plans, and this indeed is a long-term process," the minister admitted.
Rapid power consumption growth is a problem also for the government as it faces difficulty supplying some regions with electricity, especially during the hot summers, and power outages have become inevitable.
High and rising consumption has compelled the government to import more power in summer from neighbors, namely the Republic of Azerbaijan and Armenia.
Iran's installed power production capacity is around 82,000 MW. The government imports 700 MW in summer.
Renewables account for almost 1,000 MW of the total installed power. Iran has huge potential to harness renewable energy. Wind, solar, hydropower, waste heat recovery and biomass plants comprise 45%, 35%, 16%, 2% and 2% of the total renewables respectively.
The Renewable Energy, Lighting and Energy Saving Exhibition was held February 21-24. It focused on two major issues: efficient use of energy and environmental protection.
The three-day exhibit showcased innovative products and advanced technologies.