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Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Karl Samuda, says his Ministry will be keeping a very close eye on the movement in electricity costs over the next few months, particularly as it relates to the productive sector.
Mr. Samuda told journalists that his office has been in dialogue with the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) to ascertain the possibility of the Consumer Affairs Commission (CAC) being a part of the discussions surrounding electricity costs in a bid to protect the consumer.
“We will be examining it and working along with the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), the OUR, and with the CAC to see how we can protect the consumer as far as the electricity is concerned,” he stated at a press conference at his office in New Kingston on Tuesday (June 15).
Minister of Energy and Mining, Hon. James Robertson, recently announced that given the decrease in fuel prices and the revaluation of the Jamaican dollar, customers across all tariff groups would see a marginal reduction in their energy bills for the month of June.
The reductions come despite the OUR granting the Jamaica Public Service (JPS) an annual inflation adjustment of 1.9 per cent, in accordance with JPS’ 2001 licence.
Minister Samuda said “it is encouraging to note that we should see no increases in the actual cost to the customers, but we’re going to be watching it very carefully within our Ministry, especially as it affects the productive sector, because there is no way on earth that the manufacturing and other productive areas, such as tourism, can underwrite or cover any additional energy costs,” the Minister remarked.
In the meantime, Mr. Samuda told reporters that the Government is working overtime to introduce alternate energy sources in a bid to improve the country’s competitiveness.
“The aim is to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels so that we can become more competitive, because we will never be more competitive at these high costs of energy,” he stated.