GTC Energy patrol team on the loose

February 19, 2003

By Edith G. Alejandro, Staff Reporter

Reprinted with permission by the Saipan Tribune, Volume 13, Number 50, February 19, 2003.

To reduce the power bills of all public schools in the Commonwealth, the Gregorio T. Camacho Elementary School is piloting the Energy Patrol program by tapping the assistance of six elementary students.

The students—Justin Babauta, Emoa Iguel, Joshua Mafnas, Elowena Camacho, Jerro Jones, and Rita Santos—were inducted yesterday morning as the first batch of energy patrollers who would be monitoring the GTC's consumption of water and electricity.

Gov. Juan N. Babauta, who was present during the induction ceremony, urged the students not only to be vigilant against the school's leaking faucets and air conditioning units and bulbs that are still turned on even after working hours but also to be equally alert on their home front.

"This is a special day for GTC as we take the first step to learning energy conservation awareness and love for the environment. Energy touches every corner of our lives, our homes and conservation means saving money for other things that the school will need," said the governor.

The program, which is patterned after an energy conservation program in Arizona, hopes to reduce the electricity and water consumption of all public schools in the entire Marianas. The GTC would be the springboard of the program to determine how well the students would cope with their assignments as energy patrollers.

As part of their responsibilities, the energy patrollers would be recording uneconomical use of water and electricity during working hours. They are also asked to list down classroom observations on how each class responds to the call for energy conservation and report incidents to Energy Patrol Coordinator Serafin Pablo. Also, monthly recording would show how much was saved and how the program helped the school reduce its utility bills.

According to Energy Director Thelma B. Inos, the program would soon be expanded to all public schools, including on Tinian and Rota, and eventually to private schools in the CNMI. "We hope to achieve this by the end of the year, hopefully when funds are available. The funds are from the U.S. Department of Energy," Inos said.

She added that the program hopes to reduce the PSS' utility bills by 10 percent.

She said a classroom-to-classroom meter reading would be conducted to determine the cost of each classroom in GTC. The program would not only raise awareness among students on how to conserve energy but peer-to-peer tactic would immediately disseminate information to other folds of the community through the six energy patrollers.

"This would not only raise awareness among students but would provide leadership skills and taking responsibility by getting involved while they are young," Inos added.

The project is jointly collaborated by the Public School System, the Department of Public Works/Energy Division, and the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs. Also present during the patrol pledge of responsibility were DPW Secretary Juan S. Reyes, Energy Division Energy Patrol coordinator Lorraine Seman, PSS commissioner Rita Inos, and DCCA Secretary Juan L. Babauta.