JPS defends rate increase

September 17, 2021

The Jamaica Public Service Company Limited (JPS) is defending its request for a rate increase, calling it necessary for the service it provides.

In a request made to the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) in May, the power company requested a 3.5 per cent increase in light bills and was granted a 1.4 per cent increase that took effect on September 1. Since the announcement, social media users have labelled the decision as 'unconscionable' and 'wicked'.

Winsome Callum, director of communications at the JPS, defended the company's position, saying the rate increase is necessary for it to maintain the quality service that customers require. "It's not just about a rate increase," she said. "If we were to not implement the determination, customers would be deprived of some benefits that are outlined in this determination."

Efficiency target

She noted that one of the considerations is the OUR's efficiency target that is used to determine how fuel is used to generate electricity which is key in determining the cost.

"When these targets are reviewed each year, the OUR makes a determination and if we don't meet these targets, we are not allowed to recover a certain amount from customers. The amount that we would normally recover is reduced if we don't meet these targets," she said.

Callum maintained that the determining of the rates is a function of the OUR and the JPS must abide by the regulations that they make. She also said the OUR has to make a decision that is beneficial to both the regulated entity and the customer.

"They have to strike a balance. So JPS will not necessarily be happy with all the decisions that the OUR made and neither will the customer be happy with all the decisions in this determination."

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