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JPS comments on denied efforts to charge interest on outstanding bills

Published:Wednesday | January 14, 2015 | 12:48 PM

The Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) says the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) appears to be forcing it to disconnect hospitals and streetlights in denying its request to charge interest or a recovery fee on outstanding bills.

However, President and Chief Executive Officer of the JPS, Kelly Tomblin, says the company will never disconnect essential government services because of unpaid bills.

She notes that last year alone, the company lost more than US14 million because of unpaid bills by the Government and businesses.

The JPS CEO stresses that the light and power company has no way of recovering losses incurred as a result of foreign exchange movements from the time the bills are due and when they are paid.

The OUR has defended its decision not to grant a rate increase.

In its determination, the OUR ordered the JPS to nominally cut its non-fuel rate and denied several proposals made by the JPS.

The rate determination has lead to questions about whether the OUR's ruling will impact the viability of the light and power company, with the latest objections coming from the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica this week.

Speaking on Cliff Hughes Online on Power 106FM this morning, Tomblin said the JPS has not been able to pay a dividend to its shareholders for the last three years.

She says the OUR’s decision not to grant the 21 per cent rate increase the JPS was seeking means that the company will not have enough money to carry out projects aimed at modernising its plants and saving energy.

Tomblin says the company’s team is now carrying out an analysis based on the OUR’s rate determination.

She says she expects to receive the report on Friday and will examine it over the weekend after which a decision will be made about whether to appeal the OUR ruling.

The JPS has 30 days within which to file an appeal.

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