JPS yearly profit jumps 24%

Light company at ease with increase in customer satisfaction

BY KARENA BENNETT Business reporter bennettk@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

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Light distributor Jamaica Public Service (JPS) has reported a 24 per cent jump in annual profits, increasing from US$23 million in financial year 2014 to US$28.6 million for 2015.


The increase in profits came despite a 54 per cent decline on year-on-year net profits for the December period, with the quarter closing at US$4.87 million ($589 million), compared to almost US$10.5 million for the same quarter in 2014.


The decline in net profit was led by a US$47.6 million dip in revenues as oil which fuels most of JPS power stations continues to trend downward and the consistent passing of the reduced rates on customer’s electricity bills, according to just released data.


Revenue for the three-month period ending December 2015 was US$176.7 million, compared with US$224.3 million a year earlier.


"It’s really great to have lower prices, yes, but what’s not great is for them to go up and down. So we’ve worked on how we do create a more sustainable environment that doesn’t have that volatility. I have to say that the one that’s right here, right now is the Bogue project," JPS CEO Kelly Tomblin stated at a press conference earlier this month.


"The other thing that will help with this problem is an integrated resource plan (IRP), which will help us in determining what resource and where will best support sustainability and most of all affordability," she added.


Consumer electricity rates are currently at a five-year low.


Despite seeing significant declines in net profit, JPS expressed some satisfaction with the quality of service being provided to consumers which trended upwards at 70 per cent in 2015.


JPS saw one of its lowest satisfaction rates back in 2012 at 22 per cent; however, Tomblin is encouraged by the growth in customer satisfaction and plans on implementing 10 initiatives geared towards continued growth in customer service.


"You can see how customer satisfaction has grown; it’s almost at 70 per cent. We are not happy with that but we have worked very hard to say to our customers we appreciate you and we want to be in a different conversation," she said.


Senior vice-president for energy delivery and technology, Gary Barrow, noted that the company has already seen a 30.3 per cent decrease in the frequency of outages when compared with the previous year. The company also noted that it is working on the Government of Jamaica to improve payment for street lights, as it moves to implement LED lighting over the next five years.


Throughout 2016, JPS plans on completing the conversion of the Bogue power plant, while partaking in initiatives to lead in a ‘clean and green’ Jamaica. Additionally, the company has started the process of implementing advance smart grid, proliferate prepaid meters, improving customer engagement, and the implementation of the JPS mobile application.


JPS also plans on connecting 10 new communities during the year.


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