Fri | Jan 18, 2019

Appeals Court rules JPS' exclusive licence is valid

Published:Friday | January 16, 2015 | 10:48 AM

Barbara Gayle and Jerome Reynolds, Gleaner Writers

KINGSTON, Jamaica:

The Court of Appeal has ruled that the Jamaica Public Service’s all-island electric licence to transmit electricity is valid.

The appeals court said the Electric Lighting Act does not prevent the Energy Minister from granting an exclusive all-island licence.

The court further concluded that the granting of an exclusive licence does not prevent the Minister from considering other applications for licences.

The appeals court said the respondent, lobby group Citizens United to Reduce Electricity (CURE), did not provide any evidence that the Minister has adopted an approach that no other applications for licence would be considered on merit.

CURE was ordered to pay the legal costs of JPS, the Attorney General and the Office of Utilities Regulations in both the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal.

The appeal was brought by the JPS and the Attorney General’s Department while the OUR was an interested party in the proceedings.

In July 2012, Supreme Court Judge Bryan Sykes had ruled that JPS’s monopoly licence on electricity distribution was invalid.

In his ruling Justice Sykes said the Energy Minister does not have the power to grant a license on terms which prevent other applicants from having their applications being considered genuine.

The judge also said the Minister does not have the power to grant a license upon terms that bar the possibility of any other person entering the market for the transmission of electricity.

Justice Skyes however said the minister has the authority to grant a license to an operator to supply power to the entire island.

Following the ruling the JPS filed an appeal on the grounds that the judge was wrong when he ruled that the light and power company’s all-island exclusive licence was invalid.

JPS also challenged the judge's ruling that Section 3 of the Electric Lighting Act does not permit the minister to grant a licence on an exclusive basis.


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