Economics, Energy

Average Electricity Cost in Jamaica is Down to Five-Year Low

The average cost of the electricity in Jamaica is currently at a five year low of US 25 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh), according to the privately owned electricity company (Jamaica Public Service). JPS says the dramatic reduction in the overall cost of electricity is due to lower fuel charges, as well as the improved efficiency of installed generating units.

Since last year, JPS customers have been benefiting from lower Fuel & IPP Charges on their bills, as a result of the reduction in the price of oil on the world market. The Fuel & IPP Charge on bills this month is J$14.670 per kwh, compared to J$18.449 last month. This means a seven percent reduction in the April bill for the average residential customer, compared to his/her
March bill.

The Fuel & IPP Charge on bills is coming down from a high of $J28.828 / kWh in March last year when oil prices were at their highest for 2014. In addition to the lower cost of the oil used for electricity generation, JPS say it is also passing on to customers the gains from the improved efficiency of its generating plants. The Company claims to have invested US$21 Million in plant upgrade and maintenance in 2014 to ensure that, despite their age, the units operate as efficiently as possible.

The above chart also shows that electricity cost has been on the decline since 2013, from a high of US 39 cents per kwh in April 2012. However, JPS did not elaborate on this aspect of the decline, but during this period the Jamaica Energy Partner – Jamaica’s largest an independent power producer – commissioned its 66 megawatt (MW) West Kingston Power Plant and JPS commissioned a 7.2 MW hydro plant – an expansion of the Maggotty Hydro Plant. These two projects I am assuming contributed to the reduction seen between April 2012 to April 2014.

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