Power distributor Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) remains committed to using liquefied natural gas (LNG) for its planned 360-megawatt power plant despite Government's expected plan to scrap the supply of gas for the project, according to the utility's boss.
The private sector can assume the role of supplying the gas, if allowed by Government, JPS Chief Executive Officer Kelly Tomblin said Tuesday.
The company will meet with Government this week to determine its next step.
"The private sector could secure LNG if Government permits it," Tomblin told Wednesday Business.
Lower electricity bills
JPS expects its 360-megawatt project to deliver savings of 30-40 per cent on electricity bills based on running on cheaper LNG while using diesel fuel as a backup.
"We are still working on it," said Tomblin on the plant. "We believe that LNG is still the best viable option to bring down prices in the long run."
The Sunday Gleaner quoted a key source who revealed that Government would scrap plans to deliver the infrastructure and supplies of LNG. Government will make an announcement expected next month on the way forward.
Energy sources subsequently said Government is unlikely to fully divorce itself from the LNG programme.
Tomblin said JPS was yet to hear from the Government confirming the policy change.
"We have no official word on the cancellation of the project from Government," she said.
The introduction of LNG in Jamaica would provide energy diversification and lead to more regionally competitive electricity rates.
The 360 MW plant set to begin construction this year at some US$614 million will become the heart of JPS power grid once completed in 2016. The plant, for which its partners are currently seeking external debt financing, will include LNG and diesel as back up.
JPS is owned 40 per cent by Marubeni Corporation, 40 per cent by Korea East-West Power and 19.9 per cent by the Government of Jamaica. The other 0.1 per cent is held by individuals.