The minister of Science, energy and Technology Daryl Vaz among other politicians has spoken out against the 1.4 per cent increase in Electricity bills that is to take effect starting in October.
According to the Minister, he is not in agreement with the forecasted increase because the economy of Jamaica, as well as the people, are going through a state of hardship at this time due to the impact Of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Minister Vaz explained on Tuesday to the House of Representatives that when he discovered that there will be an increase in electricity bills, he went and reviewed the Electricity act himself to gain enough information for self-satisfying reasons as well as to provide the proper authority for them to see if there was a way to influence the decision to increase the price or even defer it.
Opposition member Phillip Paulwell also spoke out on the matter whilst expressing his disappointment in the Government, for not utilizing their power to ask JPS to delay the added percentage. According to Paulwell, his main issue is the humanitarian thought lacking from the ruling of the OUR considering the hardships that Jamaicans are experiencing at this time.
Phillip Paulwell however noted in his talks at the House of Representatives that he is well aware that the price of LNG is soaring to a point where it might reach its highest all-time rate, which will affect the price of power since 60 per cent of Jamaica’s electricity is produced by the resource. The Opposition member however stated that people are having it hard, and as such, the Government should have done something.
In response, Daryl Vaz said that since the OUR gives an independent ruling, it does not facilitate for the minister to be involved in the decision making but he did highlight that the Electricity act could be adjusted and is now being reviewed by a Parliament Committee which will allow them to have a voice where regulation and legislation is concerned in the future.
It was also revealed by the Minister of Science, energy and Technology that the Electricity act is reviewed every five years and as such he hopes that such a thing can happen either this year or early next year.
Julian Robinson, the Opposition spokesman on Finance also spoke on Tuesday about serious matters concerning power as he called on the Government to put a foot forward to help the situation in South-Eastern St. Andrew that sees households experiencing power outages for prolonged periods daily as a measure by JPS to counteract electricity theft.
The Office Of Utilities Regulation in response to the situation of prolonged power outages in Julian Robinson’s constituency has launched investigations in the matter since they did not pass outages, as a policy to fight Electricity theft.
There has so far been no response from JPS, even though there was a written request for information sent to them by the OUR.