Govt Committed to Electricity Generation and Competition
Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Hon. Phillip Paulwell, says the Government is intent on transforming the way electricity is distributed island wide with a view to ensuring competition in the generation and distribution of the utility. “We are intent on transforming the way electricity is distributed and that will resolve in a win-win for all because the fact of the matter is that we are seeing scores of people looking for opportunities outside of Jamaica Public Service Company (JPSCo),” he said. This was disclosed by Minister Paulwell recently during an interview on the Jamaica Information Service’s (JIS) Issues and Answers programme with Mr. Ian Boyne. Mr. Paulwell said the Government is exploring efforts towards greater competition to ensure that consumers can be beneficial in the long run. “There is an overriding feature of our energy system that we are focused on and that has to do with the distribution of energy because having achieved competition on the generation side, we recognise that that competition has been rather limited because of how the rest of the system is structured so we are pursuing an effort now towards greater competition and we are quite aware that those are delicate negotiations that will have to be pursued but we believe that we have a win-win scenario recognising the government has a vested interest in the JPS as well,” he said. The Government last year, signalled its intention to break up the Jamaica Public Service’s (JPS) monopoly on the transmission and distribution of electricity. The JPSCo has a customer base of nearly 600,000, and a generation capacity that exceeds 620 Megawatts. It operates 27 generating plants, 54 sub-stations, and owns approximately 14,000 kilometres of distribution and transmission lines. In the meantime he said, newer energy sources are also being pursued, adding that the Government has begun to incentivize on areas to facilitate greater use. “The Ministry of Finance, recently announced the removal import duties (and) GCT on solar. We see this as a major opportunity for Jamaicans especially residents because coupled with that, we have the facility for net billing which will allow you now to having generated enough for your home during the daytime, you can now sell your excess capacity up to 100 kilowatt hours to the grid,” he said, adding that this will allow individuals to generate additional revenue.