Gov’t to impose stricter telecoms service rules
New rules are coming to govern standards by players in the telecoms sector in the wake of complaints by customers about poor service, including dropped calls and difficulties making calls across networks.
Minister of Science, Energy and Technology Fayval Williams told parliamentarians examining the Estimates of Expenditure in Gordon House yesterday that the state of the telecoms sector in Jamaica today was inadequate.
She said that her ministry was working with the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) to finalise the quality of service rules.
Giving details, Williams said that the ministry was currently reviewing draft rules, which would then be sent to the OUR for its perusal and feedback. At the end of this process, the minister said that the document would be sent to the chief parliamentary counsel for final examination.
On another matter, Opposition Spokesman on Energy Phillip Paulwell wanted to know why the Jamaican consumer was not benefitting from lower electricity rates with the introduction of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to fuel Jamaica Public Service Company plants. It was anticipated that with the onset of LNG, the price of electricity would be approximately US$0.13 per kilowatt-hour.
However, Paulwell said that the price of electricity today was about US$0.28 per kilowatt-hour.
Williams told members of the Standing Finance Committee that there was “great expectation” that LNG would reduce the price of electricity for Jamaicans. She noted that “we are getting the benefit of diversification and greater security” but said that “we are not seeing that reduction in the overall cost of electricity”.
She said that the independent power producers required a much shorter period of return on capital, adding that the lower electricity rates would come with the build-out of more renewable energy options locally.