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Story Highlights

  • The Senate has approved a Bill which aims to provide a modern codified system for regulating the generation, transmission, supply, distribution and dispatch of electricity in the island.
  • The updating of the 125-year old Electricity Act will also make it easier to bring new generating capacity to the power grid.
  • It will repeal the Electric Lighting Act, the Electricity (Frequency Conversion) Act and the Electricity Development Act.

The Senate, today (July 24), approved a Bill which aims to provide a modern codified system for regulating the generation, transmission, supply, distribution and dispatch of electricity in the island.

The updating of the 125-year old Electricity Act will also make it easier to bring new generating capacity to the power grid.

Piloted by Minister of Justice, Senator the Hon. Mark Golding, the Bill was passed without any amendment.

Senator Golding said the Bill is an important piece of legislation for the country and will form a central pillar in addressing the island’s energy sector.

“This legislation is a deliverable under the IMF programme, as the IMF programme is not just about meeting fiscal targets, but it is about restructuring this economy for growth and development,” he said.

He pointed out that it is providing a modern, accountable and transparent framework in which the country can move forward, “and represents significant work that has been put in by the Ministry and others.”

For his part, Opposition Senator, Robert Montague, said with the passage of the Bill, “we expect to see the roll-out for the improvement in our transmission network and a smarter grid. This will serve to improve the quality of service to the Jamaican consumer.”

He said that under the provisions of the Act, it is his fervent hope that the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) will become more proactive, and safeguard the interests of the Jamaican consumer and the country as a whole.

“The OUR must now be prescriptive and advise the JPSco, not only on what to do, but how to do it. When the OUR becomes proactive, the consumer will get better protection,” he said.

The Bill also seeks to promote transparency among participants in the electricity sector; clarify their roles and responsibilities; facilitate efficient and sustainable development of the sector, supported by adequate levels of investment; promote energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy sources; prescribe the required standards in the electricity sector; ensure the safety of the public; and provide transparency in regulation.

It will repeal the Electric Lighting Act, the Electricity (Frequency Conversion) Act and the Electricity Development Act. The  Bill was passed recently in the House of Representatives.