Electricity came to Jamaica in 1892, thirteen years after Thomas Edison invented the first successful electric lamp. It all began when the Jamaica Electric Light Company started to supply electricity from a small coal-burning steam generating plant on Gold Street in Kingston. This was quite an achievement for Kingston, a small island city, then only nineteen years old. At that time, many large British cities were still without electricity.

Thirty-one years later, on May 25, 1923, the Jamaica Public Service Company Limited (JPS) came into being as a legal entity, providing service to 3,928 customers. Up to that time, electricity had been provided by a number of small suppliers, whose assets were eventually taken over by JPS.
[h4a]Historic Highlights[/h4a]

1892 - Electricity arrives in Jamaica

Jamaica Electric Light Company Plant on Gold Street
Jamaica Electric Light Company Plant on Gold Street”
Electricity first came to Jamaica in late 1892, with the establishment of the Jamaica Electric Light Company on Gold Street using a small, coal-burning steam generator. Only 13 years after American scientist Thomas Edison invented the electric lamp. We were one of the first companies in the world to have electricity.

1893 - First electricity in a private residence

Waterloo Guest House, Black River
Waterloo Guest House, Black River
Electricity didn’t come to Black River’s Waterloo Guest House until Leyden bought the guest house from the owner Shakespeare. Leyden bought the first car to Jamaica and in 1893 made Waterloo the first home in Jamaica to be supplied with electricity.

1897 - Electric Company bought...

Company’s Office on King Street in Kingston
Company’s Office on King Street in Kingston
Jamaica Electric Light Company’s holdings were acquired by the Jamaica Electric Light and Power Company in 1897. They had a bigger influence after creating an office in Kingston at 151 Orange Street.

1897 - Another electric company emerged.

Hydroelectric station at Bog Walk
Hydroelectric station at Bog Walk
Another electric utility emerged, under the name West India Electric Company. Then the electricity service was extended to other areas with a powerful 3 machine hydroelectric plant on the Rio Cobre River at Bog Walk in 1897.

1907 - The earthquake

hoto showing the corner of King and Harbour Streets in Kingston post the 1907 Earthquake. Source: jamaicanechoes.com
Photo showing the corner of King and Harbour Streets in Kingston post the 1907 Earthquake. Source: jamaicanechoes.com
The Jamaica Electric Light and Power Company sustained extensive damage during an earthquake, and due to financial problems, a new company was formed, under the name Jamaica Light and Power Company Ltd. (Canada).

1907 - The consolidation begins

The Jamaica Light & Power Company Ltd. (Canada) leased its licences and property to the West India Electric Company. The West India Electric Company became more effective in after the integration of the Gold Street station with the Bog Walk Supply system.

West India Electric Company Street Car before the earthquake.
West India Electric Company Street Car before the earthquake.
West India Electric Company Street Car after the earthquake. Source: www.markdgljmci.com.jm
West India Electric Company Street Car after the earthquake. Source:
www.markdgljmci.com.jm

1923 - The consolidation continues

On May 25 the Jamaica Public Service Company Ltd. (JPS) was registered, and subsequently acquired the assets of West India Electric Company. Some towns had their own electricity companies supplying the local area in the early years.

1945 - The final consolidation

County Electric Lighting Company, Northern Electric Lighting Company, and St James Utility sold to The Jamaica Public Service.

1966 - All island license

All-Island 25-year Electricity License issued.

1978 - All island franchise

JPS began operating under an exclusive 39-year All-Island Electricity License.

1996 - JPS sale halted

Government halted proceedings to sell JPS, after receiving bids from three overseas utility companies.

1997 - Performance agreement

Jamaica Public Service entered into a Performance Agreement with the Government of Jamaica.

2001 - Mirant buys 80%

Mirant Corporation
Mirant Corporation
On March 30, 80 percent of the operating shares in Jamaica Public Service was transferred to Mirant Corporation.. The government was left with just 19%, the last 1% was controlled by minority shareholders.

2007 - Marubeni buys JPS

On August 9, Marubeni Caribbean Power Holdings, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Marubeni Corporation of Japan, purchased Mirant’s majority shares in JPS.

Image:Milverton Reynolds (centre), managing director of the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ), signs the agreement giving the Jamaican Government’s consent to the transfer of Mirant Corporation’s 80 per cent stake in the Jamaica Public Service Company to the Japanese firm, Marubeni. At left is Tomofumi Fukuda, president of Marubeni Caribbean Power Holdings, Inc., signs the Letter of Agreement. Source: Jamaica Gleaner

2009 - Shares to TAQA

Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (TAQA)
Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (TAQA)
Marubeni transferred 50 percent of its shares in Marubeni Caribbean Power Holdings to Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (TAQA) of the United Arab Emirates.

2011 - Abu Dhabi withdraws

Abu Dhabi National Energy Company withdrew from the Marunbeni partnership. Marubeni Caribbean are therefore majority shareholders of Jamaica Public Service.

2011 - Korea East West partnership


Korea East West Power (EWP) entered into a Purchase and Sale Agreement with Marubeni Corporation for joint ownership of majority shares (80%) in Jamaica Public Service Company Ltd.

Image:President & CEO, EWP, GIL GU LEE (left) shakes hands with General Manager, Overseas Power Project, MARUBENI, YOSHIHIRO MEGATA, while former Minister of Mining and Energy, HON. CLIVE MULLINGS looks on. The occasion was the signing of the new partnership agreement between MARUBENI Corporation and Korea East-West Power