Jamaicans pay for Ivan

Customers of the Jamaica Public Service Company Ltd., come month end, can expect to pay more on their utility bills because of the power company’s decision to now collect for the damage incurred during Hurricane Ivan in 2004.

Although the Office of Utilities Regulation had approved, in August 2005, the recovery of $457.5 million of the $1.52 billion the light and power company said it had wracked up in costs associated with damage caused by Ivan, the JPS had opted not to recover the amount until now.

“At the time of the OUR ruling, electricity prices reached record highs due to an unprecedented surge in world oil prices,” Winsome Callum, head of corporate communication at the JPS, told The Gleaner yesterday.

“In recognition of the impact this had on customers, JPS took the decision to delay the implementation of the cost recovery until prices stabilised.”

Under the terms of its licence – known as the Z-factor – the JPS is allowed to collect on damage incurred during circumstances deemed to be beyond its control. This takes into account hurricanes and other natural disasters.

“The OUR has now agreed that JPS can recover the costs through a Hurricane Recovery, which will be applied to bills beginning in July for an initial period of 24 months at a base rate of 7.4 cents per kilowatt hour.

“This base rate will be adjusted monthly to reflect changes in the rate of exchange and will be reflected in a separate line on your bill,” added Ms. Callum.

Considering the fact that the island is now in another hurricane season, Ms Callum said JPS has discussed the establishment of a self-insurance fund with the OUR in order to mitigate future impact on tariff in events such as hurricanes.

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