The government, private sector and civil-society groups have formed a joint public/private sector Energy Monitoring Committee (EMC) to oversee the development of the impending 360-megawatt generation energy plant.
The central mandate of the committee, whose terms of reference has been approved by Cabinet, "is to ensure that the bid process is followed in the manner prescribed by the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR)," and that the price of electricity provided by the licensee to the Jamaica Public Service Company does not exceed US$0.1288 per kilowatt-hour, according to a release from the committee.
The EMC, made up of nine members and co-chaired by Cabinet Secretary Dr Carlton Davis and businessman Peter Melhado, has support from the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica, Jamaica Chamber of Commerce (JCC), Jamaica Manufacturers' Association (JMA), and the Jamaica Civil Society Coalition (JCSC).
In order to pursue its mandate, the committee is expected to monitor the acquisition of fuel for generation, installation of the necessary infrastructure to distribute the fuel, a bankable power purchasing agreement between the licensee and the JPS, construction of the generating units against agreed timelines and budgets, and proper financing arrangements to underpin those areas.
The EMC said it expects to have access to sensitive information in order to fulfil its terms of reference and, as such, the members will be bound by strict confidentiality agreements and conflict-of interest disclosures.
"However, the committee will issue appropriate public releases from time to time in keeping with the national interest in this project," the release said.
Apart from Dr Davis, other members representing the Government are Fitzroy Vidal and Michelle Forbes of the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, and William Saunders, energy consultant.
Other private-sector members are Simon Roberts, representing the JMA; Noel daCosta, representing the JCC; and Jeanette Calder, who will represent the JCSC. The union member is Lloyd Goodleigh, who will represent the Jamaica Confederation of Trade Unions.
The OUR has selected the Hong Kong-based Energy World International (EWI) as the preferred bidder for the power plant. EWI has posted the required US$7.4 million (J$778 million) bond with the OUR and earlier this month signed a power purchase agreement with the JPS.
EWI has committed to supply power to the JPS at US$0.12.88 per kilowatt-hour, compared to the current rate of about US$0.42 per kilowatt-hour to generate electricity. It will spend US$737 million on the project.
The power plant is expected to be commissioned in 2016.