For the first time in 10 years, Jamaicans are paying less than US 20 cents per kWh for electricity. This, as the fuel charge on electricity bills decreases again this month, resulting in an average 7% reduction in April bills, compared to March. This month, Residential customers are paying on average US 19 cents per kWh, while Large Industrial customers are paying US 14 cents per kWh for electricity.
JPS President & CEO, Kelly Tomblin, announced that with the ongoing reduction in energy costs, Jamaica now has the 3rd lowest electricity rates in the Caribbean, behind only Trinidad and Belize. She explained that the cost of electricity is now 30% lower than it was a year ago as the Company continues to pass on the savings from lower fuel prices to customers. She also asserted that, “customers are benefiting from the fact that our generating units are using less fuel to produce each megawatt of electricity. Last year, JPS invested J$3.6 Billion in power plant maintenance, resulting in the best plant efficiency in the Company’s history.”
Despite the lower oil prices being enjoyed now, it is still prudent for Jamaica to press ahead with fuel diversification. Fuel diversity is absolutely essential, in order to ensure price stability, energy security and sustainability. We believe that now is actually the best time to make the switch to natural gas, when we can afford it, to protect ourselves from oil price volatility. “JPS expects to have our Bogue plant running on natural gas before the end of the year, and, so far, we seems on target to build the new 190 MW gas-fired plant in Old Harbour Bay by 2018,” she said. The introduction of natural gas will also allow for the more efficient integration of renewables on the grid, which is an important component of Jamaica’s 2010-30 energy plan to provide Jamaica with cleaner energy
It is important, however, that customers continues to be responsible in their energy usage, and avoid waste, as the amount they pay each month depends on how much electricity is actually used.