With non-technical losses, including electricity theft, accounting for approximately 18 to 20 per cent of the electricity generated in the country, the Government is partnering with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and its lead consultant Deloitte under the Strengthening Utilities and Promoting Energy Reform (SUPER) Programme to address the matter.
Minister of Science, Energy and Technology Daryl Vaz provided an update on the issue, which sees paying customers of the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) being charged more on their electricity bills to cover the cost of the losses.
Vaz was speaking Tuesday during his contribution to the 2022/23 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives.
He said USAID and Deloitte have established a working group — comprising the ministry, JPS, Jamaica Social Investment Fund, and Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) — that has come up with a set of policy concepts to address the issues of non-technical losses. These are:
communication and reporting which will build trust between relevant entities and encourage cooperation on loss reduction activities and objectives;empowerment which will provide consumers with the tools to acquire legal electricity;enforcement which will discourage the theft of electricity through prosecution capabilities.
Vaz disclosed that the first activity to be implemented is a house-wiring initiative, conceptualised under the empowerment category of the solutions. Additionally, the IDB is funding a National Electricity Loss Reduction Plan Consultancy for Jamaica, which is being conducted by Estudios Energeticos Consultores (EEC).
“The IDB’s non-technical losses audit consultancy with the EEC is allowing the Government to collaborate in conducting an Energy Loss Independent Audit Report (ELIR) and preparing a National Electricity Loss Reduction Plan (NELRP). The ELIR will focus on the factors that impact the level of technical and non-technical losses at the national, parish and feeder levels while the NELRP will define the roles, actions, time periods, benefit-cost, targets, and other elements needed to reduce losses,” Vaz said.
Meanwhile, the minister noted that the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the energy sector continues to drive an increase in consumer demand for electricity.
He said electricity generation increased by two per cent during the period, with the renewable energy share of electricity remaining at 13 per cent. The alternative energy share based on liquefied natural gas remained at 59 per cent.