Frequently Asked Questions

What is JPS doing to improve the efficiency of its operations?
As part of our ongoing efforts to improve organizational efficiency, JPS continues to examine and make necessary adjustments in our operations. To that end, several initiatives have been implemented in core operational and support areas of the Company. These initiatives include: Ongoing projects to reduce electricity theft and technical losses Modifications to generating units to maximize output Infrastructure development to increase the use of renewable sources of fuel in new generation expansion projects Outsourcing of services, such as bill collection, which can be more economically provided by third-party partners.
What is the fuel mix currently used by JPS?
At the moment, oil is used for 95% of the electricity generated in Jamaica by JPS, as well as the Independent Power Producers (IPPs) from which the Company buys electricity for distribution to customers. Most of this is Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO), which accounts for 63%, while Automotive Diesel Oil (ADO) accounts for 32% of all fuel used. Hydro and wind energy currently make up approximately 3% and 2% of the fuel mix.
What is JPS doing to reduce its dependence on oil?
JPS is committed to including 'renewables' as part of its new generating capacity. The Company continues to explore the use of wind, hydro, coal, CNG, and petcoke in future expansion projects. JPS has received approval from the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) to work on 2 new renewable power projects which form part of the Company's overall strategy to gradually reduce Jamaica's dependence on foreign oil for electricity generation. These projects will see the addition of just over 9 megawatts (MW) of new generating capacity using hydro and wind power. The two projects are: a 6.3 MW hydroelectricity power plant in Maggotty, St Elizabeth, and a 3 MW wind farm in Munro, St Elizabeth, (the latter was completed in October 2010). In addition, JPS began preliminary work on a project to review conversion of its 120 MW combined-cycle plant at Bogue, Montego Bay to use Compressed Natural Gas (CNG). The Company was in discussions with potential suppliers of CNG in Venezuela and Columbia; as well as with shipping companies for transportation of the gas to Jamaica. In addition, the Company had initiated and completed a number of feasibility studies for this project. JPS has also entered a partnership with the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica and Petrojam for the construction of a co-generation petcoke plant at its Hunts Bay location in Kingston. JPS has completed preliminary studies and this plant, was to provide an additional 100 - 120 MW of power, and was expected to result in significant savings on fuel, as it will use petcoke from the Petrojam Refinery for the generation of electricity and supply steam to the refinery.
How does JPS give back to communities?
JPS plays an active role in strengthening the communities we serve. Our commitment to service goes beyond the generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity. We are dedicated to improving the quality of living of all Jamaican citizens. That's why we continue to support projects and organizations that promote Jamaica's economic development and enrich the lives of our people. Our involvement takes many forms, and includes corporate sponsorships and investments in key areas like education, health care, sports, and general youth development. We provide sponsorship for the major athletic endeavours including football, netball, and basketball. We invest in education through a range of initiatives, which include: scholarships for students attending tertiary institutions, our Early Childhood Nutritional Support Programme, the Science & Technology Expo, and our Homework Centre in Old Harbour Bayand and Denham Town. The JPS Resource Centre also provides information to students conducting research on the electric utility industry. Our contributions to the health sector include a partnership with the Burn Unit at the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI), and support for the Spanish Town Hospital in St. Catherine.
How does electricity theft affects JPS and its customers?
We lose over 11% of the electricity we produce to electricity theft.. JPS absorbs a portion of the costs arising from electricity theft; however a percentage which is approved by the OUR is also passed on to legitimate customers. In addition to the financial cost, electricity theft is an extremely dangerous activity, which causes several deaths each year, as well as extensive damage to property. Illegal wires and connections also distort the quality of the power supply which customers receive, and burden the distribution system that was designed to meet the specific energy needs of legitimate customers. JPS spends in excess of US$10 million each year toward ongoing strategies aimed at reducing electricity theft. These include: Meter investigations Account audits Ongoing removal of illegal 'throw-up' lines Theft resistant solutions such as insulated power lines and inaccessible meter centres Collaboration with the police for the arrest of perpetrators Community relations Public education You too can play a role in the fight against electricity theft, by making reports to 1-888-CALL JPS (225-5577). Call us today.
What is the JPS safety record?
Safety is one of our main priorities – both for employees and members of the public. By increasing the focus on safety in our operations over the years, JPS has managed to consistently improve our overall safety record. Our safety initiatives have allowed us to achieve top quartile safety performance ratings in 2008, based on benchmarks established by the US-based association of electric companies, industry suppliers and related organizations – the Edison Electric Institute (EEI). Each year, JPS participates in the safety survey conducted by EEI for energy service organizations. The safety metrics most commonly reported by the electric utility industry and regulatory agencies are the Recordable Incident Rate (RIR) and the Days Away Case Rate (DAWCR). Our safety performance in 2008, as measured by these performance indicators, placed us among the top-performing companies in the region in terms of safety.
Why did customers pay a huricane recovery charge?
The Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) now has a self-insurance fund, which puts the Company in a good position to underwrite costs associated with the repair and replacement of its infrastructure in the event of damage from a natural disaster. The fund stood at US$14 million , in June 2011. The JPS self-insurance fund was established because, like other utilities in the hurricane belt, JPS is not able to get insurance for the poles and lines that make up its transmission and distribution (T&D) system. The Hurricane Belt includes the Caribbean region and sections of the United States . Due to the devastating effects of hurricanes and flood rains in this geographical area over the last two decades, insurers are unwilling to accept the high risk of insuring T&D systems in the hurricane belt because of the susceptibility of the region to those occurrences. In June 2007, the OUR granted JPS permission to recover a percentage of the costs associated with damages caused by Hurricane Ivan in 2004. Damages to JPS systems and infrastructure totaled US$23 Million, however only a percentage of that amount (US $7.2 Million) was being charged to customers over a two-year period (2007 – 2009). Since Hurricane Ivan, however, JPS customers have not had to pay any additional amounts for the damage caused by hurricanes or storms. The public was not asked to pay for damage caused by Hurricanes Emily (2005) or Dean (2007), nor was the public asked to pay for damage after Tropical Storms Dennis (2005), Wilma (2005) or Nicole (2010). These costs were covered by the JPS self-insurance fund, to the extent allowed by the OUR. Self insurance funds are now standard in utilities that are exposed to natural disasters in the Caribbean and Americas . These funds help the utility companies to act quickly after a natural disaster to repair or replace critical components of the T&D network. The regulators in the respective countries monitor these self-insurance funds, and determine when and how they are to be used.

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