JPS attributes spike in light bills to devaluing dollar

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JPS attributes spike in light bills to devaluing dollar

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

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KINGSTON, Jamaica -- The Jamaica Public Service (JPS) has attributed the recent devaluation of the Jamaican dollar to the rise in electricity cost seen by customers this month.

The light and power company said that for this month, customers will see an increase of 7.43 per cent in electricity bills as the dollar weakens against its US counterpart.

This means that the average customer who consistently uses 165 kWh per month will pay an estimated $483 more on their May bill.

“The billing exchange rate on bills this month is$142.95 to US$1, compared to $135.39 to US$1 on bills in April. This is a direct result of the fall in the value of the Jamaican dollar in the past month. Most of the material needed for electricity generation and distribution is bought with US dollars, so any movement in the value of the Jamaican dollar has an impact on the cost of electricity,” JPS said.

The company explained that while a base rate of $128 to US$1 has been set by the Office of Utilities (OUR), changes in the value of the dollar could result in the need for the rate applied to bills to be adjusted, using what is called a Foreign Exchange (FX) Adjustment Mechanism, to reflect the most recent FX rates from the Bank of Jamaica. This, JPS said, was a part of an approved and audited process.

The fuel and IPP charge on bills for the period has therefore moved from $21.7 per kilowatt-hour (KWh), to$24.2for each KWh used, with kWh usage being the amount of electricity used for each billing period. Billings are done between 28 and 35 days wherein a lower number of billing days could mean a lower bill, while a higher number of billing days could mean a higher bill.

JPS said that this means that customers who have increased energy usage will see a greater increase in their bill amounts.

Responding to the concerns of customers regarding the reduction in oil prices in relation to electricity cost, JPS reiterated that the decrease in global oil prices is not reflected in the price at which they buy fuel for electricity generation.

“JPS buys oil from Petrojam. We do not purchase on the world market. The oil that JPS buys from Petrojam does not reflect the low rates being reported on the world market,” the company said.

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