The Cayman Islands Government recently approved duty waivers on several energy efficient devices and building materials.
Once an amendment is made to Schedule 1 of the Customs and Tariff Act, duty will be set to 0% for spray polyurethane foam insulation, polyurethane foam sheets, low e-film for windows, smart thermostats and smart home energy monitors.
Minister of Sustainability & Climate Resiliency and Premier Hon. G. Wayne Panton said the duty waiver will support ongoing efforts to mitigate the cost of living crisis by making it easier for Cayman Islands residents to install money-saving energy efficiency measures.
“Making your home or business energy efficient is one of the simplest and most cost-effective ways to save money on your monthly electricity bills. With proper insulation and smart energy devices, combined with careful monitoring of your energy consumption, you can bring down your energy costs significantly and reduce your carbon emissions,” Mr. Panton said. “The Cayman Islands Government is cognisant of the worry surrounding escalating costs of living locally and globally. This duty waiver on energy efficiency products is one of a number of steps we have taken to support local incomes and contain costs.”
Since August 2021, the Cayman Islands Government has introduced more than 24 different initiatives to assist those significantly impacted by increased cost of living.
Some of the cross-ministerial initiatives over that period include but are not limited to:
• Reducing service fees for seniors;
• removing duty on essential items for infants and seniors;
• increasing funding of scholarships for advanced, specialised tertiary education;
• the electricity relief assistance package to provide a fuel cost credit for all residential customers with monthly consumption between 101 – 2,000 kWh (to cover the highest consumption months of July, August, and September);
• and, the extension of the pension holiday (until the end of September).
Deputy Premier and Minister responsible for Finance and Customs duty Hon. Chris Saunders said: “We have introduced cost savings measures in areas that make the most meaningful impact in people’s lives. One of any family’s most important and vital expenses is your utility bill. We need electricity to keep our homes at a comfortable temperature, to chill and preserve our food, to cook our food if we have electrical appliances, to wash our clothes, and to have light so our kids can do their homework. Oftentimes, people do not make long-term cost and energy saving changes to their homes, such as foam insulation and smart thermostats because they believe they cannot afford to. This initiative will help individuals and families make the investment in energy saving materials that will help them save money over the long run.”
The duty waiver will be offset by an increase in the Customs Tariff structure for the importation of gold bullion into the Cayman Islands.
Senior Policy Advisor (Energy) Kristen Smith with the Ministry of Sustainability & Climate Resiliency says enhanced energy efficiency measures have real and lasting impacts on the cost of living for local residents.
“The energy efficiency products identified in the duty waiver can have a significant impact on your monthly bills. Proper insulation is essential to reducing energy costs while smart thermostats and home energy monitors can help you see where electricity is being used and make informed decisions such as using less electricity at times of the day when your home or business is not occupied,” she said. “To help home and business owners save energy and money, the Ministry has produced a series of Do-It-Yourself Energy Audits to help identify potential problem areas in your property and highlight opportunities for increased energy efficiency. Visit energy.gov.ky to access these free resources.”
Energy efficiency is a key objective of the National Energy Policy under Goal 3: Energy Security, which includes incentives for promoting the implementation of energy efficiency measures in new facilities and major renovations.
In addition to saving money, energy efficiency measures are also a win for the environment: Small changes in local homes and businesses can lower national energy consumption and reduce the carbon footprint of the Cayman Islands.