JIS News

A motion for the appointment of a select committee to examine the operations of the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPSCo) to determine whether they are consistent with the country’s energy requirements and the interest of Jamaican consumers has been placed before the Lower House.
Member of Parliament for St. James West Central, Clive Mullings, who raised the motion during yesterday’s (Tuesday Sept. 13) sitting of the House said the call came, as despite the assurances and four years of operations by the company under new ownership, the country continued to experience unreliable electricity supply with frequent power outages, questionable billing practices and steep increases in cost to the consumers including non-fuel charges.
The government in 2001 sold 80 per cent of the shares of the Jamaica Public Service Company to the United States based Mirant Corporation for US$201 million.
Mirant at the time of its acquisition of majority ownership of the company gave certain undertakings including the provision of an efficient and reliable supply of electricity, the expenditure of US$500 million to establish 375 Megawatts of new generating capacity and a reduction in system losses.Mr. Mullings said despite these assurances the country continued to experience difficulties.
JPSCo sells power exclusively in Jamaica under a 20 year all-island electric licence that expires in 2021 and has installed generation capacity of 600 MW.
The entity was recently granted a 0.5 percent rate increase shortly after a previous 3.5 percent rate increase. The 0.5 per cent rate increase gave the entity leave to raise its electricity rate by 0.07 cents – or one half of one per cent – per kilowatt hour to pay for the damage it said was sustained to its generation and distribution systems during Hurricane Ivan last September.