As we enter the sweltering temperatures that signal of summer, it is safe to say that the Jamaica Public Service (JPS) is anticipating a spike in revenue from an increase usage of appliances. Typically, during the months of June to August, Jamaicans brave the heat with the use of air conditioning units and fans. Additionally with children being home for the holidays, parents receive higher than normal utility bills when compared to months where children are at school for five days per week.
In recent times, JPS has submitted a request for a new rate review to The Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) on May 3, 2018. They are seeking to refinance USD$179.1 million of its existing long-term debt that is based on an interest rate of 11 per cent per annum. This review, if approved, will translate to a 1 percent increase in charges to customers. The Jamaica Public Service possesses this power under the Electricity License, 2016, which makes provision for “extraordinary rate reviews owing to exceptional circumstances that have a significant impact on the electricity sector/ or JPS”.
Being a pure monopoly in its field, JPS has the power to dish out rates that Jamaicans must accept or choose the alternative of solar power. JPS has been plaguing the country with high rates since its inception and being safe from competition, is able to project high costs on customers.
With the improvement in Jamaica’s business environment, is it time for another company to show their competence and offer their services? There is always the possibility that the Jamaica Public Service will be forced not only to reduce rates but increase their level of efficiency if they fear losing market share. Perhaps it is time for more options to present themselves, especially in light of the new rate review.
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