October 2011

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THE Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) has said it has found no evidence that the meters installed by light and power company the Jamaica Public Service Limited are in any way inaccurate.

Speaking at a press conference this morning to provide an update on the findings of the probe which was launched at the end of August following widespread public outcry over escalating bills, former Director General of the OUR and lead investigator into the JPS billing system, JP Morgan, said as far as the investigation is concerned the “public can have every confidence” that the new meters are not the source of their problems.

Morgan also pointed out that the investigators unearthed areas of major weaknesses and recommended that they needed to be addressed by the utility company.

Speculations had been that the new meters were the reason for the recent spike in billing costs that customers are experiencing.

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Gov

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THE Government has successfully renegotiated some of the terms of the Jamaica Public Service Company’s (JPS) electricity licence, the Ministry of Energy and Mining said yesterday.

The new terms of the licence, according to a news release from the ministry, will allow for the implementation of power wheeling, net billing and an increase in the level of renewable energy that can be added to the electric grid without being subjected to competitive tendering, the statement said.

Power wheeling is described in the news release as a self-generator generating electricity at one location and transporting it for use at another location for its own benefit.

The cost for the use of the electric grid and the price to be paid by the self-generator is to be determined by the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR).

The introduction of net billing will allow JPS customers who produce electricity on a small scale to be paid for the electricity that they supply to the grid.

The licence’s new terms also allow for up to 25 megawatts of electricity from renewable energy generation, up from the previous limit of 15 megawatts, to be added to the grid without the need for competitive tendering.

“These new terms of the JPS’s licence will help Jamaica to achieve its fuel source diversification targets, facilitate investments in energy infrastructure, create employment in green jobs and positively impact the country’s macro-economic objectives,” the energy ministry stated.

The billing practices and policies of the utility company resulted in growing anger and islandwide demonstrations earlier this year.

Last month, Prime Minister Bruce Golding directed the OUR to carry out a detailed analysis of the costs and charges being imposed for electricity supplied by JPS to its customers.

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