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Court ruling a boon for JPS customers

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Dear Editor,

I would like to congratulate the group Citizens United for the Reduction of the cost of Electricity (CURE), who brought a class action suit which challenged the Jamaica Public Service monopolistic all-island licence.

Supreme Court Judge Bryan Sykes ruled in CURE's favour that the exclusive power distribution licence granted to JPS is not valid. His ruling proves that the Jamaican justice system works. CURE's argument was that the exclusive licence is illegal and the energy minister breached the Electric Light Act when he granted the licence in 2001.

This is a resounding victory for CURE and the people of Jamaica. It shows that Jamaicans will not sit idly by while politicians facilitate monopolistic entities to establish themselves in contravention of the law, without a response from the people. The people of Jamaica must now capitalise on this ruling by reaching out to their parliamentarians and demand that they break down the JPS monopoly and let competition in.

For too long house-holders and businesses have been crying out for relief from the exorbitant electricity rates which make us uncompetitive in relation to our Caricom partners. According to the 2011-2012 annual competitive index released by the World Economic Forum, it scored Jamaica 107 out of 147 countries in the global competitive ranking and it also rated Jamaica as the world's worst macro-economy. By virtue of this monumental ruling, I hope the Government of Jamaica opens up the market so that electricity distribution costs can be lowered and our industries can hum again with productivity.

Patrick Callum



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