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JPS borrows US$34m from Scotiabank for power projects

Published:Sunday | May 9, 2021 | 12:07 AM

Power utility Jamaica Public Service Company, JPS, has secured US$34 million in new loans from Scotiabank Jamaica to finance its capital projects.

“We use a combination of debt and equity to optimally fund our business. JPS is investing approximately US$100 million annually in capital over the period 2019 to 2023, as per our investment plan filed with the regulator,” said Chief Financial Officer Vernon Douglas.

The new borrowings comprise $2.36 billion in local currency, which charges interest of 5.75 per cent per annum; and US$17.5 million at 4.75 per cent. Both loans are repayable by 2027.

JPS is in the process of converting its ageing diesel plants to run on liquefied natural gas, and one of its big projects includes a US$60 million 40 megawatt plant at Hunts Bay, to come on stream by 2023.

The utility will also spend US$37 million to string up 43 kilometres of transmission lines from its new plant at Old Harbour, St Catherine, to Hunts Bay in Kingston, a project aimed at improving energy reliability for consumers and businesses, particularly in the capital.

Last month, World Economic Forum, an independent European think tank, ranked Jamaica at 86 among 115 nations in terms of energy transition, in the Fostering Effective Energy Transition 2021 report. Countries are ranked based on their movement towards clean, renewable energy which includes wind and solar, but also the increased access to such energy for citizens. Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Switzerland and Austria led the world. Haiti and Zimbabwe were at the bottom, at 114 and 115, respectively.