JIS News

Opposition Spokesman on Energy, Phillip Paulwell, is proposing that the Jamaica Public Service (JPS) move to increase and enhance its revenue, by creating additional income streams, using available technologies in Broadband over Power Lines (BPL).
This suggestion comes against the background of what Mr. Paulwell said, is the anticipated increase in electricity rates, which he contended, will be “another body blow to the productive sector, and will add greater pressure to the consumer,” if it materialises.
“This (BPL) is a technology that is not new to the world. It is (however) going to be new to Jamaica, but the JPS can use its existing infrastructure to provide telecommunications services, broadband technology, and can use that to enhance its revenues, so that the consumer doesn’t have to pay the full brunt of an increase that is likely,” he argued, while making his contribution in the 2009/10 Sectoral Debate in Gordon House on Tuesday (June 23).
The BPL technology, Mr. Paulwell explained, is a smart grid that will enable consumers to have up-to-the-minute information on their meters, enabling them to properly monitor and manage their electricity consumption.
Mr. Paulwell also proposed a review of the operations of the JPS, and the licence governing their activities. While assuring that the Opposition is not advocating any “unilateral action in relation to the provisions of the (JPS) licence,” he noted the need for consideration of a “new approach” to the matter.
“I believe that careful analysis should commence, followed by reasonable discussions and negotiations to review aspects of their operations and licence governing the operations of the Jamaica Public Service Company,” Mr. Paulwell stated.
He outlined several areas for consideration including treatment of the electricity distribution network as an essential facility; and easy and reasonable access to competitors, who would be charged a fee, determined by the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR), that will seek to recover the cost for the efficient maintenance of the network, with special emphasis on the reduction of technical and non-technical losses.
The Opposition Spokesman also proposed the creation of a Universal Access Fund (UAF), to which electricity providers would contribute, to ensure that the “non-profitable areas of the country” can be “properly maintained and serviced.”
He also suggested the implementation of a dual metering system that provides “real incentives to large and domestic producers of renewable sourced energy, so that, instead of the formula which we had proposed of JPS purchasing the energy generated at a price of US0.8 cent per kilowatt hour (KW/h), plus a mark-up of 25 per cent, it would now be purchased on the basis of the actual cost of generation by the various technologies, plus a 25 per cent mark up.”
Mr. Paulwell further proposed active pursuit of the sale of carbon credits to realise returns and cash flow for renewable projects; Government allowing the energy sector to determine the various sources of fuel options; that the administration maintains its 20 per cent stake in the JPS; and that the new electricity law be passed.
He further urged a review of the principle of guaranteeing a “reasonable return” on investments in the JPS, and how capital projects and insurance ought to be financed. He contended that in a competitive environment “the market should be allowed to determine these matters, not the OUR.”
“I really want to commend these to the Government… and, perhaps, the Government should ask the OUR to contemplate these recommendations, with a view to seeing how they can be implemented, through dialogue and negotiation,” he stated.

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