Gov't senator laments that 30% of NWC's operating cost goes into paying JPSTuesday, July 20, 2021
KINGSTON, Jamaica— A staggering 30 per cent of the operating cost of the National Water Commission (NWC) goes into paying the Jamaica Public Service (JPS) for its energy, thus playing a big part in the billions of dollars in losses made each year by the Commission, a Government minister has said.
“A big part of those big annual losses is incurred to pay JPS. And to make matters worse, JPS has been in the business of charging NWC interest at 17 per cent per annum on delayed payments,” said Minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Senator Aubyn Hill.
He was speaking recently in the Senate during his contribution to the 2021/2022 State of the Nation Debate.
Hill suggested that it was unreasonable for the JPS to be charging the state-owned NWC interest at 17 per cent, pointing out that “A car loan during this period to an unincorporated individual would carry an interest rate in the vicinity of 6 or 7 per cent, but JPS would charge a wholly-owned Government of Jamaica enterprise such as NWC 17 per cent interest per annum”.
The NWC has previously pointed out that, with Jamaica's hilly terrain, the supply of water across the country is heavily dependent on electricity.
“In order to get water to our customers the NWC has to pay over $200,000,000 per month for electricity alone,” said the NWC.
Hill told the Senate that the Government has been forced to look at cleaner, renewable alternatives.
“For the NWC to get water to the last village and last home in various rural places in Jamaica, often up steep hills, is a very expensive exercise. It is expensive to add lift stations and water treatment systems that are simply not economical. The cost to supply water to these distant communities and distribution points, invariably, prove to be prohibitive,” Hill stated.
He said the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation is exploring a different and better way to serve these communities, isolated villages and homes and is looking to tap into rainwater harvesting.
“It is an alternative source of water that should be considered across the country and especially for new homes and other new buildings,” said Hill.
He said the Ministry has formed a working group to look at all aspects of rainwater harvesting.
Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at https://bit.ly/epaper-login