JPS hikes new accounts deposit
THE Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) has increased the deposit for new residential customers by over 233 per cent, as of this month.
The $5,000 fee means that all new customers seeking to establish electrical connections will be required to pay up to $3,500 more than the previous $1,500 charged by the utility company.
The power company has also tagged a $4,000 increase on the deposit that it requires from new commercial account holders. This translates to a 67 per cent increase over the original cost of $6,000, moving to $10,000.
The deposit required for businesses is determined by the scale of their commercial operation, with industrial-sized operations paying the highest deposits, due to their high demand for energy.
Corporate Communications Officer at JPS, Audrey Williams, explained to the Jamaica Observer that JPS normally uses customers' cash deposits to secure the outstanding balances on their accounts, and that the amount of the deposit is usually based on the history of electricity usage at the given address.
"It has always been a part of the JPS' terms and conditions of service that the deposit paid upon opening a new account be equivalent to one month's bill. The deposit for residential customers, which has been at $1,500 for some time now, is just being aligned to the average residential customers' bill," Williams said in an e-mailed response to a Caribbean Business Report query.
Williams was keen to note that "existing customers will not be required to update their security deposits unless the account is disconnected for delinquency".
If an existing customer, therefore, fails to pay his/her bill on time, and is disconnected by the JPS, that customer will be required to pay the new deposit charge. In addition, disconnected customers will be required to pay the reconnection fee of $1,650 plus tax ($1,938.78).
"We therefore continue to encourage customers to pay their bills in full and on time, so they can benefit from the early-payment incentive and avoid the cost of disconnection," said JPS' Director of Communications Winsome Callum.
On August 1 last year, JPS simultaneously implemented a $250 plus GCT late fee for bill payments made after the due date, and a $250 discount to customers for payment prior to the due date on their bills.
Earlier this week, the power company defended this move by arguing that more people have started to pay their bills on time and that disconnections have been cut in half.