JIS News

Story Highlights

  • One of the most serious challenges facing the country is the prohibitive cost of electricity which continues to be a burden on businesses and householders alike. Over the last few years and spanning Administrations, the quest for cheaper electricity has been a major priority.
  • Cabinet has approved the Electricity Sector Enterprise Team, ESET. The Team is chaired by engineer, Dr. the Hon. Vincent Lawrence, OJ.
  • The Terms of Reference for the ESET include the management of the procurement process in consultation with the OUR, the JPSCo and the Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining for the development of new electricity generation capacity.

One of the most serious challenges facing the country is the prohibitive cost of electricity which continues to be a burden on businesses and householders alike. Over the last few years and spanning Administrations, the quest for cheaper electricity has been a major priority.

Since 2011, there has been three processes managed by the Office of Utilities Regulation, OUR, aimed at getting cheaper electricity. The first was a general tender that attracted only one bidder which did not offer the price that could give Jamaica the competitive advantage.

The second process was for unsolicited bids. There were four bidders and the OUR determined that none had a viable project.

The third saw a limited tender in which there were five bidders. Energy World International, EWI, was chosen as the preferred bidder after the first failed to pay the required bid bond. Energy World International was granted a licence but failed to pay the performance bond within the required time. In keeping with the provisions of the licence, the Minister of Science, Technology, Mining and Energy, Hon. Phillip Paulwell has written to EWI giving it the requisite notice regarding the revocation of their licence.

The Cabinet has had many discussions on the process and the delay in implementing the 381 MW project.  The Administration believes that to move the process forward quickly and to remedy the unsustainably high electricity rates, a special team is necessary to focus on this project. Consequently, Cabinet has approved the Electricity Sector Enterprise Team, ESET. The Team is chaired by engineer, Dr. the Hon. Vincent Lawrence, OJ.

The other members of the ESET are:

  • Mr. Winston Hay, former Director General of the OUR and Energy Consultant
  • Professor Alvin Wint, Member of the Coordinating Committee of the Partnership Council
  • Mrs. Helene Davis-Whyte, Trade Unionist
  • Mr. Joseph M  Matalon, Businessman  (Private Sector appointee) and
  • Mr. William Mahfood, Businessman (Private Sector appointee).

The Terms of Reference for the ESET include the management of the procurement process in consultation with the OUR, the JPSCo and the Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining for the development of new electricity generation capacity.

The ESET will report to and advise the Prime Minister and the Cabinet on the following:

  • procurement for new electricity generating capacity and
  • the urgent replacement of baseload generation with a more efficient plant that utilizes lower cost fuel and provides reliable and affordable electricity to the country.

The role of the OUR in the overall regulation of the electricity sector as outlined in the OUR Act will be maintained.

The Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining has responsibility for the Energy Sector and will continue to discharge his statutory duties.

The Cabinet recognizes the keen interest of the nation in this important issue of energy and will continue to provide complete, transparent and regular updates to the country, as circumstances – legal and otherwise, allow.