The Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining has successfully negotiated with the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) for a reduction in electricity rates, for both commercial and residential customers.
Among the measures to be implemented is a wholesale rate, which will apply to the top 20 per cent of industrial customers, and this represents a 25 per cent discount.
Residential consumers will also come away with some benefits as well, as the company has agreed to offer a $250 discount as an incentive to customers who pay their bills in full before the due date.
“This will help the company improve its collections, and will allow those of us who like to be early to derive some benefit for being proactive, ” Portfolio Minister, Hon. Phillip Paulwell, told the House of Representatives in a Statement on Tuesday, February 19.
The Minister also announced a change in the disconnection policy of the Jamaica Public Service Company Limited.
“No longer will the JPS automatically disconnect consumers who miss their payment date by a day or a week. Instead, those customers will face a late payment ‘fine’ of $250, and will only be eligible for disconnection if they are in arrears for over one month,” Mr. Paulwell stated.
He noted that the measures are to come into effect by July 1, 2013, subject to the approval of the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR).
“The JPS has also agreed to adjust the time of use discount they offer commercial and industrial consumers for their off peak usage. These measures will greatly ease the burden on the production and manufacturing sector, “Mr. Paulwell said.
Meanwhile, the Energy Minister informed that the JPS is currently working on seven new systems that will allow the utility company to offer a variety of improvements in their billing and collections and customer service in general.
He noted that one of these systems, which will allow for prepaid electricity service, is already being tested in a pilot project.
“These steps represent a monumental shift in the way that our electricity sector operates, and I commend the JPS for working with the Government to deliver these improvements to the Jamaican consumers, both residential and industrial,” Mr. Paulwell said.
He added that the Ministry expects that the majority of these measures will be endorsed by the OUR in short order.