My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: @myJPSonline Prepaid Power and reduction in Industrial Electricity Rates by July 2013 - The Last Exorcism Part II of Electricity Thieves

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

@myJPSonline Prepaid Power and reduction in Industrial Electricity Rates by July 2013 - The Last Exorcism Part II of Electricity Thieves

“It's an absolutely great move, we have been calling for this for a long time now so it is good that the Government has finally stepped in.....In life you have to crawl before you can walk so we welcome it.....It's something that we have been working with the Jamaica Manufacturers' Association and the (Jamaica) Chamber of Commerce on, and I want to talk to them. I don't think I have a comment on it right now”

Brian Pengelley, President of the JMA (Jamaica Manufacturers' Association) in comments with regards to Industrial Rate Reductions from JPS Co to The Jamaica Gleaner on Wednesday February 20, 2013

Prepaid Power is coming as promised in July 2013, to the delight of Prepaid Mobile phone addicts in Jamaica as noted in “Prepaid Power? - Gov't flirts with possibility of buying Electricity before actual use”, published Wednesday February 20, 2013, The Jamaica Gleaner.

This along with a reduction in Electricity Rates for Industrial Users come July 2013, a little after the start of the Hurricane season as promised by Minister of Science Technology, Energy and Mining, Phillip Paulwell in the article “Paulwell promises reduction in Electricity bills by July”, published Tuesday, February 19, 2013 | 3:05 PM, The Jamaica Observer is sure to be welcome news!

And clearly, from the quotes above, Brian Pengelley, President of the JMA (Jamaica Manufacturers' Association) welcomes this move as noted in “'An absolutely great move'”, published Wednesday February 20, 2013, by Nedburn Thaffe, Gleaner Writer, The Jamaica Gleaner, as it’s a long time coming.

It’s part of a raft of proposals by the JPS Co (Jamaica Public Service Company) that’s got the Ministry of Science Technology, Energy and Mining’s rubber-stamp approval:

1.      Prepaid Metering System aka Prepaid Power
2.      Incentive for customers who pay their bills on time, basically a treat
3.      Late-payment fee instead of disconnections
4.      Reductions in the order of 25% on rates for large businesses

The Public is mainly unsure as noted in “Consumers unsure about Prepaid Electricity”, published Tuesday February 26, 2013, by Anastasia Cunningham, News Coordinator, The Jamaica Gleaner, especially but secretly elated about, based on word-on-the-street. 

Areas of Jamaica that are especially plagued by Electricity theft, mainly Denham Town and Majesty Gardens aren’t too keen on a concept they can’t bypass as noted in “Denham Town, Majesty Gardens residents say system won't work”, published Tuesday February 26, 2013, The Jamaica Gleaner, so for them, I’d suggest a few simple ideas to JPS Co:

1.      Insulation installed on the Power Lines to prevent Throw-ups
2.      Mandated Digital Meters and Prepaid Power for users with a history of Electricity theft
3.      Cameras installed to watch areas know for illegal throw-ups with JPS Co NOC (Network Operation Center) doing the watchin’
4.      Further installation of the thus far successful RAMI (Residential Automated Metering Infrastructure) as described in “JPS says RAMI significantly reducing Electricity theft”, published Thursday, April 21, 2011, The Jamaica Observer

The RAMI system “trips” the Power in the area when Electricity usage exceeds a preset threshold due to illegal throw-ups, basically acting like a very large breaker. But as you may have noticed, Prepaid Electricity from JPS Co is coming as promised.

As promised?

Yes indeed, as it had been suggested by President and CEO of JPS Co Kelly Tomblin at The Jamaica Observer’s Monday Exchange dated Monday 12th November 2012 as recorded in the article “Time to top-up your Power”, published Wednesday, November 14, 2012 BY SHAMILLE SCOTT Business reporter, The Jamaica Observer.

The incentives or “treats”, again a concept borrowed from Telecoms Providers and as such may be welcome, and like Prepaid Power, is also borrowed from Telecoms Providers. This may be in the form of Prizes related to Electricity, such:

1.      Rewarding customer who pays their bill on time with 3 month’s free Electricity (wishful thinking!)
2.      Removal of their Monthly rental (more likely!)
3.      A free Energy Audit (very likely!)
4.      An Energy Saving Package that may include Energy saving products such as Fluorescent of LED (Light emitting Diode) Bulbs and even Solar Panels that you pay for (Bingo!)

Late fees instead of disconnection is also derived from Telecoms but reversed; we call this ETF (Early Termination Fees) for customers on a two (2) year contracts that wanna cut early. That system is not perfect, but it works for Telecoms Providers, as when you hit people in their pockets, they’re likely to think twice about wanting to switch.

JPS Co is being cost effective and proactive; this reduces the cost of sending out contractors to re-connect delinquent customers and most importantly gets JPS Co ready for competition as it sets up the mirror-image of ETF EXACTLY as it operates in the Telecoms World to prevent people from switching to competitors when a fully Liberalized Energy Environment comes online.

Now on to the Industrial users!

The reduction in Electricity rates is aimed mainly at encouraging increased investment and production from Industrial Manufacturers who are in the upper twenty (20) heavy users of Electricity and are switching to Alternative Energy.

The measures are as follows:

1.      25% Discount on the non-fuel tariff portions of their bills i.e. Power from Alternative Energy Sources
2.      Time of Use (TOU) discounts for using Electricity during Off-Peak hours, which is the same periods of time as in the Telecoms

Point of reference here. In the Telecoms World, as in the Power Engineering World, Peak and Off Peak hours are defined as thus:

1.      Peak is from 7:00am to 6:59pm the following day Monday to Friday
2.      Off peak being 7:00pm to 6:59am the following day, Monday to Friday
3.      Weekends is regarded as starting on Friday at 7:00pm and ending on the following Monday at 6:59am.

I say “switching” as that they only way they’ll get truly benefit from this reduction is if the GOJ increases Alternative Energy usage in Jamaica to at least 11% as noted in “In five months, Wigton saves Jamaica $229 million”, published Sunday September 25, 2011, The Jamaica Gleaner, which would constitute the bulk of the “non-fuel” tariffs.

But as President of the JMA Brian Pengelley says, you have to crawl before you can walk and these initiatives achieve just that! Stay tuned as I track these developments coming in July 2013 as JPS Co copies Telecom Providers as it performs The Last Exorcism Part II (2013) of Jamaicans who steal Electricity.

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