Ministry Exploring Possibility of Post Offices Facilitating Bill Payments


Minister of Industry, Technology, Energy and Commerce, Phillip Paulwell, has said that the Ministry was examining the extent to which post offices could facilitate bill payments, thus easing the burden of consumers, particularly those in rural Jamaica.
Mr. Paulwell was speaking on the issue of customers being charged a fee for the payment of bills by bill payment agencies, during his contribution to the 2007/08 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives, yesterday (June 6). “I am very sympathetic to the cause of the consumer,” the Minister emphasised.
He reminded consumers that the most effective control on the operations of the bill payment agencies was consumer choice. “Choice is the operative word here, it is the very essence of competition in a free market,” he added. He also informed that the Office of Utilities Regulation has taken steps to ensure that customers were aware of their options through on-going public education.
In the meantime, Mr. Paulwell informed the Lower House that as ofMay 31, 2007, more than one million fluorescent bulbs have been distributed to hundreds of communities across the island under the Jamaica Cuba/Bulb Programme. The programme, which began in February 2006, involves the distribution of four million energy saving bulbs. It is designed to replace the use of wasteful incandescent light bulbs with Compact Fluorescent light bulbs.
“When this project is concluded, at current fuel cost, the energy savings to the country will be about $5.44 billion. This represents savings on recurrent expenditure only. In terms of capital investments, this translates into savings of $8 billion, resulting from avoiding additional power generating capacity,”Mr. Paulwell said.
The programme is now being used as a model in the region, throughout the Caribbean and Venezuela. In addition to the commercial value of the bulbs, the project represents a major element of Jamaica’s energy conservation programme and the government’s push to reduce the high import bill.

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