It is no hidden reality that Jamaicans have been for a longtime subjected to high electricity bills from JPS Company Limited, and many times persons have launched questions as to why their light bills are so high but still have not received any logical answers or solutions to their issues.
According to a report from Globalpetrolprices.com, Jamaica sits at number 142 among 146 countries where it concerns who pays the highest electricity bills.
Unlike its neighbours in the Caribbean and Latin America, who mostly find alternative methods to cut costs, Jamaica uniquely sits among Germany, Belgium, Denmark and Bermuda as one of the countries with the highest electricity costs.
Some of the reasons why the bills are so high on the small Caribbean island, in recent times, are due to the Public service company’s adjustment of revenue goals each year, inflation as well as the foreign exchange rate.
JPSCo’s revenue goals went up in the year 2015 after the ending of the PetroCaribe agreement, which eventually led to a Hedge fund to maintain the amount of Oil that was available and could be purchased. Costs were hiked even more when the Jamaica Labour Party, as a part of their election, increased the Special Consumption tax on fuel in 2017 from $0.43 to $7.36 per litre which was also used to fund the 2016 $1.5 billion tax break.
As it relates to inflation, and the foreign exchange rate, those are self-explanatory, if either goes up it would mean that Jamaicans have to pay more for electricity since both factors play an integral role in the importation of fuel.
Other factors that the Jamaica Observer highlighted to actively impact the cost of electricity includes government taxes that was earlier highlighted and electricity distribution inefficiencies and theft. For the last factor, it concerns those persons who might not have up to date equipment to properly receive and operate electricity at its most efficient level as well as those persons who have illegally taken possession of the Public Service Company’s service.
It is being reported that over “200,000 households” Illegally gets their electricity and as such the Jamaica Public Service Company Limited has decided to charge each person legally using power, 17.5% of their bills in return for what has been taken by thievery.
The findings also showed that the Public Service Company’s profit margin cause them earn much more than they should be, based on the amount that fuel is purchased for and the amount in Kilowatt per hour that they sell electricity for.
It is not a secret, however, that the last factor of power theft has been argued by JPSCo customers over the years as unfair, but will the power service provider change their protocols as a result of the outrage that has been taking for years? We will have to wait and see.