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Gov't, JPS agree to change licence

Published:Wednesday | July 9, 2014 | 12:00 AM

THE Jamaica Public Service has been given the right to replace its generation capacity, an authorisation which was given in exchange for an amendment to its licence to allow the Cabinet, through the Electricity Sector Enterprise Team (ESET), to take over the role of procurement and project implementation for new generation capacity on the island.

Phillip Paulwell, the energy minister, in closing the Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives yesterday, said the Government and the Jamaica Public Service signed off on an amendment to the light and power company's licence on Monday.

"The amendments and related matters are pertinent to the critical and urgent issue of the procurement of the new base load generation capacity. It removes constraints on the ability of ESET to proceed with its mandate," Paulwell said.

OUR STRIPPED OF ROLE

Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller said in Parliament last month that the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) was being stripped of its role in leading the procurement process and that the responsibility would now rest with a six-member enterprise team led by Dr Vin Lawrence. The team will report to the Cabinet through the prime minister.

Kelly Tomblin, chief executive officer at the utility company, is indicating that her entity is using the discussions to press the Government to go further with amendments to its licence.

Paulwell said the Cabinet has been advised by ESET that consultancy services were being engaged to determine a least-cost generation plan; power plant site options; and the business model and projected financial long-term plan for the JPS within two months.

The introduction of ESET follows the failure of Hong Kong-based Energy World International (EWI) to pay its performance bond within the time frame as stipulated by a licence issued to them by Paulwell to generate 381megawatts of gas-fired power and sell it to the national grid at US$0.1288kWh. Paulwell has since revoked EWI's licence.