Come May 1, consumers will be able to apply for a net billing licence from the Jamaica Public Service (JPS) and the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR), Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Hon. Phillip Paulwell,has announced.
Speaking at the opening of the Jamaica Power Summit 2012 at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston today(April 19), Mr. Paulwell said that both commercial and residential consumers can apply for the licence.
Net billing is provided for under the new energy licence renegotiated with the JPS. Under the provision, small producers of electricity, who are also JPS customers, will now be able to receive remuneration for self-generated electricity that is supplied to the grid.
“You can buy electricity from the utility company at one rate and, if you have excess energy that you generate yourself, you can sell that back to the utility at another rate,” Minister Paulwell explained.
He said that by balancing the amount owed for energy used and the amount earned for energy sold, customers may either reduce their bills or earn a credit with the utility.
“The amount that you earn is based on the avoided cost of generation, or rather the cost of fuel, which the JPS didn’t have to burn to generate the amount of electricity provided, plus a 15 per cent bonus,” he pointed out.
Mr. Paulwell said OUR has advised that at the current price of fuel, the rate available for electricity sold to JPS is between US$0.18 and $0.22 per kilowatt-hour, which is less than the retail price of electricity, can aid in shortening the payback period of a renewable energy investment.
The Minister said he was excited about this development, which has been “a long time coming”.
He said his administration was pleased to have completed the process that made provision for net billing, which started with the previous government, “but before now the procedures for getting enrolled were not clear and the regulation and standards were not finalised”.
The two-day summit was staged by Electric Utility Consultants Inc.
(EUCI), a company based in the United-States that produces conferences, seminars, workshops, and courses designed exclusively for the energy industry. The event features multiple sessions that will review traditional, renewable, and alternative power sources available to the island.
Industry professionals will discuss energy development issues related to policy and regulation, financing and legal issues, and technology implementation related to low-cost reliability. The discussions will be concerned with the Caribbean region and improving intraregional co-operation.
The event is sponsored by the Caribbean Energy Information System, Scientific Research Council, and Mergermarket.
By Alecia Smith-Edwards, JIS Reporter