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JPS loses legal battle to impose $4.3 billion bill on customers

Published:Friday | July 7, 2017 | 12:14 PM

The Jamaica Public Service Company has lost its court battle to recover $4.3 billion from customers for payments it made to workers during a reclassification exercise.

Jamaica's final court, the United Kingdom-based Privy Council yesterday ruled against an appeal filed by the JPS challenging the decision of the Court of Appeal.

The defendants were the All Island Electricity Appeal Tribunal and the Office of the Utilities Regulation.

In 2000, the light and power company commissioned a reclassification exercise which resulted in a recommendation for an increase in the salaries of workers.

The salary adjustment amounted to $4.3 billion.

JPS then applied to the OUR seeking approval to recover the sum from customers.

The regulator denied the application and JPS then went to the Appeal Tribunal, which also dismissed its case.

The JPS then took the matter to the Judicial Review Court seeking to quash the tribunal's decision but it was not successful.

The JPS appealed the court ruling and in 2015 the Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal.

The Privy Council heard the appeal in June against the Court of Appeal's decision and reserved its judgment until yesterday when it dismissed the appeal. 

Michael Hylton and attorneys-at-law Sundiata Gibbs, instructed by Myers Fletcher and Gordon represented the JPS at the Privy Council hearing.

The tribunal was represented by Attorney General Marlene Malahoo-Forte and Director of State Proceedings, Althea Jarrett, instructed by Charles Russell Speechlys. 

Attorneys-at-law Dr Lloyd Barnett and Annaliesa Lindsay, instructed by Simons Muirhead and Burton represented the OUR.