'I fear receiving my JPS bill'Wednesday, September 22, 2021
We are again faced with another increase in our electricity rates at a time when the average Jamaican is going through 'hell'.
But why are our rates so high?
The Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) says there are 967,000 households in Jamaica. The Jamaica Public Service (JPS) says it has 605,000 residential customers on its network. This means that the majority of 362,000 households in Jamaica are not paying for the electricity they use, and because the electricity is free to them, they use much more than they would if they were paying.
So, a person whose JPS bill is $15,000 per month, for example, is paying $5,500 of that amount to compensate for the 37 per cent of households not paying for electricity usage. This is an injustice that needs to be corrected by the Government of Jamaica in partnership with the JPS and ought to be treated as a matter of national urgency.
The JPS is not operating at a loss. In fact, recent reports are that they made a profit of US$31.5 million. This translates to a profit of approximately $85 million every single week.
We know that the JPS operates as a monopoly and will, perhaps, remain as such, given the nature of the service they provide and the size of the population they serve. We also know they have to make a profit on their operations to appease their shareholders and to be able to plan for future expansions and modernisation.
But I think that somewhere in-between $85 million every week in net profits and massive stealing by 37 per cent of households in Jamaica, an equitable balance has to be found so as to enable the majority of Jamaicans (63 per cent) to have some hope of obtaining relief from high-priced electricity costs.
Of 146 countries across the world, Jamaica is ranked at 142nd in terms of electricity costs. Only four other countries have bills that are higher than Jamaica.
In Jamaica, a large part of household income has to be allocated for one utility provider – JPS.
The only form of correspondence I fear receiving is my JPS bill, and I'm not the only one.