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Minister of Energy, Clive Mullings, yesterday (Sept.16) disclosed to the House of Representatives that the Jamaica Public Service (JPS) Company owes the state oil refinery, Petrojam, $5.7 billion for fuel, of which $2.9 billion is now due and payable.
“This raises a very serious question and I indicated to the Chairman of Marubeni, to convey to Tokyo, the Government’s concern about (the company’s) management,” Mr. Mullings said. The Marubeni Corporation, headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, has majority shares in the JPS. The Government of Jamaica holds 20 per cent shares in the light and power company.
“It cannot be business as usual. I believe that far too often we have had knee-jerk responses. You are shown raw data and when you analyse, from source, it paints a different picture. Now, therefore, if the company is in this predicament if this fuel charge is a pass through, then why is the sum owed?” Mullings questioned.
He added that “on the one hand, the consumer is being asked to pay horrendous costs in terms of fuel charges, and we are told it is a pass through. But, on the other hand, the fuel that is purchased from Petrojam is still a whopping bill.”
The Minister also stated that “it is obvious that there is urgent need to address this problem.”
Mr. Mullings also informed that there is an investigation being conducted by the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR), about fuel inputs “and we expect that within a week or two for that information to come to the fore.”
“Critical in that are two things, one the issue of testing of metres themselves and also the impact of fuel charges as it relates to the dispatching of units that may well be consuming that much more fuel, which is passed through to the consumer,” Mr. Mullings said.
The Minister said he would be travelling to Tokyo, Japan, in two weeks to get more answers on the issue.
“We can’t jeopardise this country in terms of its energy security and national security, we have to get answers, and answers we will get,” Mullings said.