JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Minister Paulwell expressed concern over the high cost of electricity in Jamaica.
  • Cost of electricity must be reduced from $0.40 to $0.15 per kilowatt hour.
  • REP will be responsible for the deployment of renewable energy across Jamaica.

Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Hon. Phillip Paulwell, has expressed concern over the high cost of electricity in Jamaica, stating that the Government is determined to reduce this by at least 30 per cent by 2016.

The Minister made the commitment as he addressed the lighting ceremony for the Brinkley- Links Hill area of South East St. Elizabeth on Wednesday (Nov. 21), under the Rural Electricity Programme (REP). More than 25 families/households are receiving electricity for the first time.

Minister Paulwell said research done by Government has indicated that the country must reduce electricity cost from US 40 per kilowatt hour, to between US18 and US15 cents, in order to be more competitive.

“Unless we are between US15 and US18 cents, we are not competitive and will not be able to get our industries back to a level where we can out-perform those entities that we are importing from.  We must get beyond 50 per cent of where the price stands today,” he stated.

The Energy Minister encouraged citizens to assist the process, by being more efficient in the use of energy. He urged the use of more energy-saving devices, including incandescent bulbs, in order to reduce the size of the light bills each month.

“Those households that are now coming onto the grid at this time must cooperate with us.  You must ensure that you don’t burn more electricity than what you can pay for. With the use of new technology, very shortly, we are going to institute a pre-paid system for electricity and just as how you purchase credit for your phone, you will be able to purchase credit for electricity for you to manage its use,” Minister Paulwell informed.

He noted that the Government, through the REP will soon be totally responsible for the deployment of renewable energy resources across Jamaica.

“We have too much sunshine, too much wind, too much garbage/waste and too much water, which can all be utilized to generate electricity at a cheaper cost to citizens than what they are now paying”, he said.

Minister Paulwell, in the meantime, commended the REP on its work over the years in bringing electricity to rural Jamaica.
He said that there should be no community anywhere in Jamaica without electricity and “we are going to make sure that within this term, every community, every district in every nook and cranny of Jamaica has electricity in their homes and on their streets”.

The 25 customers/households of Brinkley-Links had their homes wired for electricity at a cost of approximately $2 million.

The $40,000 cost for wiring each house was heavily subsidized by Government, with residents asked to pay only $4, 500.

Three street lights were also installed in the community.