My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: June 2019

Sunday, June 23, 2019

ATL Automotive and JPS islandwide Network of Electric Charging Stations by 2020

“It’s no secret that the future of the automotive industry is electric and that electric cars are set to overtake the sales of conventionally powered cars within the next decade”

CEO of the ATL Group and Sandals Resorts, Adam Stewart on plans to establish an islandwide network of Electric Vehicle charging stations 

Electric Cars are coming to Jamaica.

This as the JPS (Jamaica Public Service Company) is in the process of setting up partnerships to put the infrastructure in place for Electric Charging stations as noted in the article “Fuel Companies, JPS In Talks Over Electric Charging Stations”, published Wednesday June 19, 2019 by Karena Bennett, The Jamaica Gleaner.

JPS's national pilot programme for a network of EV charging stations will be launched by March 2020. Each of these charging stations will be within a 30-kilometre radius of each other, easing anxieties about electric vehicles having a poor range per charge.

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Already they are in talks with the Office of Utilities Regulation on pricing the energy distributed at the EV stations.  Interestingly too, the JPS co is doing this in partnership with partnership with two (2) petroleum marketing companies:

1.      Total Jamaica
2.      GB Energy/Texaco Jamaica
3.      Rubis Energy Jamaica Limited

French-owned petroleum company Total Jamaica now has a network of 74 retail stations. They expect to have 2 more stations, one in Old Harbour Road in St Catherine and another in Clarendon, making the total up to 76 potential charging points that can be converted to charge Electric Vehicles.

They've also partnered with AC Hotel by Marriott, a property newly developed by the Stewart family-owned Sandals Resorts International, who also have bigger plans for an islandwide network.

Mauricio Pulido, CEO of GB Energy/Texaco Jamaica, has said that, quote: “….but nothing is set in stone yet” however, “We will disclose more information as soon as we have more solid ground on this”.

This move by JPS to partner with Stewart Family and the Gas stations is strategic as in as I had predicted in my blog article entitled “AC Hotel Kingston Electric Car Charging is ATL Automotive push for Jamaican EV adoption”.

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This is their bid to move towards establish an islandwide network of charging stations to carter mainly to tourists and visitors who will the initial early adopters and then regular people as EV adoption picks up pace.

Good to note here that Total Jamaica is still; mulling the significance of the deal to them, being as they are still in the business of selling gasolene and Diesel following acquisition of Epping Oil Company Limited fuel distribution business earlier in 2019.

Still, they are prepared; they already have products ready for All Electric Vehicles as Network Manager Howard Henry said, “Yes, we have met with them. In fact, Total just launched a lubricant in France that is going to be one of the first lubricants available in Jamaica for electric vehicles. So we are right up the stream in terms of providing for the future …,”

So how will this benefit the Stewart family business?

ATL Automotive and Electric Vehicles - 40% of imports will be electric vehicle imports by 2030

ATL Automotive, owned by the Stewart family, is now in talks with regards to an islandwide electric charging station rollout, possibly involving franchising. They plan to start as follows:

1.      ATL dealerships in Kingston and Montego Bay
2.      ATL and Sandals Resorts International group company properties
3.      Customers’ homes
4.      Public spaces

For them, partnering with the JPS made sense, as it will benefit both their hotel business as well as their Automotive business as pointed out by CEO of the ATL Group and Sandals Resorts, Adam Stewart, quote: “Partnering with JPS was a no-brainer. We wanted to make our new hotel completely future-proof and we expect to see a large number of electric or hybrid cars in the coming months and years. We approached JPS with the idea and were thrilled to discover they shared our passion and vision for the future of our industry”.

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He predicts that by 2030 electric vehicle imports will hit 40%. Hence their partnership with JPS on the installation of the electric vehicle charging stations at AC Hotel by Marriott.

For this reason, they see this as a strategic move to take advantage of the inevitable and makes sales from Electric Vehicles, quote: “As one of country’s leading automotive companies, we’re in exciting dialogue with the car manufacturers we represent on the introduction of electric cars to’s our responsibility to not only drive awareness around the technology behind electric cars but also prepare ourselves as a business and our customers”.

So how does this translate in terms of the cost of the vehicles top consumers?

Electric Vehicles and Jamaicans - Government can do more to encourage adoption

ATL Automotive Group currently sells hybrid models of luxury brands Porsche and BMW.

These are electric vehicles that have a gasolene engine that chips in every time the vehicles is going at a higher speed, but switches back to electric at lower speeds.

A goofed example of a hybrid is the 2019 Mini Cooper Countryman Plug-In Hybrid as described in my blog article entitled “Why the 2019 Mini Cooper Countryman Plug-In Hybrid heralds Electric and Hybrids by 2030”.

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ATL Automotive Group currently operates five divisions:

1.      ATL Automotive exclusively for Honda, Volkswagen and Audi vehicles
2.      ATL Autobahn for the distribution, sales and service of brands BMW and MINI
3.      ATL Motor Sports for Porsche vehicles
4.      ATL Tiger Motors for Kia
5.      ATL Automotive Rentals

According to a rate sheet published by the Customs Agency of Jamaica,

1.      60% import duty on the total cost of the electric vehicles
2.      87.5% import duty on the total cost of the hybrid vehicles

Hybrid vehicles also attract:

1.      21.5% in GCT (General Consumption Tax)
2.      JA$55,000 in Customs Administrative Fee for new vehicles
3.      JA$69,862.50 in Customs Administrative Fee for used vehicles

This is still lower than a gas-powered vehicle exceeding 1000cc, with the only exception being 2000cc engines, an indication that the government is trying to get Jamaicans to buy vehicles with lower fuel consumption. Also, for importers of gas-powered vehicle, they have the following costs to consider:

1.      112.5% Custom duties
2.      10% special consumption tax
3.      21.5% GCT

So clearly, there is a coming cost benefit to owning an electric vehicles; lower purchase price. This will be even lower once the government removes the 60% import duty on Electric Vehicles as explained in my blog article entitled “JPS, USAID and How removing 60% import duty on Electric Vehicle will reduce Jamaica's Oil Bill”. 

Ok, but what about charging of these Electric Vehicles? How long will it take to charge them? Will it be billed to the Gas stations?

JPS and Electric Charging Stations - Fast Charging but Solar for home owners by 2030

JPS plans to speed up the deployment of these Electric Vehicles charging stations via doing the following:

1.      Build, own and operate the charging stations on the properties of its partners
2.      Independent connections to the grid to ensure fast and reliable charging speeds
3.      Gas stations will not be billed for electricity used to charge Electric Vehicles

The Charging stations will be configured as follows:

1.      Fast-charging stations for drivers to charge and go
2.      Medium-speed charging stations for drivers who want to visit business places or shopping areas nearby
3.      Three (3) vehicles can charge at a time during this 15 minute wait
4.      Charging stations will be within a 30-kilometre radius of each other

The utility intends to install charging ports that can fit almost any vehicle, to quote Acting senior vice-president of business development at JPS, Dionne Nugent: “There are specialised vehicles that have their peculiarities, like Tesla, so you probably can’t get public charging for those, but we are not ruling it out. However, for our initial roll-out we want to make them as universal as possible so that there is no real challenge”.

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Using a fast charger, it takes about 15 minutes for an Electric Vehicle to be fully charged. The vehicle owner will pay for the charging of the vehicles, which is expected to a lot cheaper when compared in terms of units of equivalent energy in terms of gasoline and electricity and mileage of these vehicles, as they are more fuel efficient as noted in the article “Electric Vehicle Charging Stations Coming Soon – Islandwide Coverage by Next Year”, published June 12, 2019, JPS.

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So like it or not, Electric Vehicle will be coming to Jamaica by 2030. If this works out, it will definately catch on with the regular consumer, especially as electricity rates are trending down and homeowners can charge their vehicles via using solar charging.

Why the LED Light Bulb Market in Jamaica is still untapped

Light Emitting Diodes (LED) are the latest and most exciting technological advancement in the lighting industry in Jamaica.

LEDs are small, solid-state technology used as a replacement for incandescent and Fluorescent light bulbs. Because the convert electricity to light without heating a metallic element like an incandescent bulb or via exciting a Noble Gas to produce light, they are 90% more efficient.

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LEDs light bulbs are designed differently than traditional incandescent light bulbs and are more rugged and durable than traditional incandescent light bulbs and are thus long lasting. They are also less fragile and dangerous than fluorescent lighting devices. LED's have other noteworthy advantages:

1.      60,000 hours, which is an exceptionally longer life span
2.      Lower energy usage
3.      Reduced JPS utility bills
4.      Reduced maintenance costs
5.      Higher safety handling especially around children

So what is the level of adoption of LED light bulbs in Jamaica?

Government of Jamaica and LED’s – 105,000 LED Streetlights by 2020

The Government of Jamaica since 2014 (The Jamaica Gleaner, 2014, January 7) has been encouraging Jamaican to make the switch to Led Light bulbs (Bryan, 2017, October) but has had little success.

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JPS Co (Jamaica Public Service Company) had aimed to complete the upgrade of some 25,000 streetlights in 2018 (Williams, 2018, February 6).

They managed to surpass that amount reaching a target of 43,000 and aim to upgrade another 25000 by the end of 2019 (The Jamaica Gleaner, 2019, February 26). 

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The aim is to upgrade 105,000 streetlights by 2020, (Williams, 2018, May 17) possibly powered via solar or Wind power.

LED Light bulbs in Jamaica – Residential and commercial lighting

LED bulbs in Jamaica are currently divided into two broad categories based on how JPS Co supplies electricity:

1.      Residential
2.      Commercial

Residential lighting is main households in Jamaica, many of who cannot afford LED, even with the removal of import duties and taxes (The Jamaica Gleaner, 2014, January 7), so often they opt for traditional Fluorescent bulbs.

Incandescent bulbs are still being sold in Jamaica, as the is no ban albeit CARICOM (Caribbean Community) is moving to implement a Caribbean-wide ban (The Jamaica Gleaner, 2018, May 10) on incandescent bulbs.

Commercial Lighting is slowly adopting LED, being as they traditionally used to use Fluorescent lighting fixtures in their factories, businesses and warehouses. Commercial Lighting involves a wide variety of applications such as:

1.      Architectural lighting
2.      Automotive
3.      Warehouses
4.      Factories
5.      Broadcasting
6.      Electronic instrumentation
7.      Entertainment and gaming
8.      Industrial automation and controls
9.      Traffic and safety & transportation

So who controls the market for LED light bulbs in Jamaica?

LED Bulbs and Jamaica – Chinese control 90% of Residential Lighting market

There  are a few companies that sell LED light bulbs wholesale and retail. These are listed as follows in the table below:

Price of LED Lights
Telephone Number
Appliance Traders Limited
JA$399 to JA$2085
35 Half-Way-Tree Road, Kingston 5, Jamaica, W.I.
1-888-ATL-SERV (285-7378), Toll Free (North America): 1-866-252-0059, Tel: (876) 926-3370, Fax: (876) 920-7048
Fosrich Electrical Sales
JA$399 to JA$2085
77-79, 10 Molynes Rd, Kingston
876 937 5099
Active Home Center
JA$399 to JA$2085
84 Constant Spring Rd, Kingston
(876) 755-0027
CESCO Limited
JA$399 to JA$2085
1A Molynes Road, Kingston 10, Jamaica, West Indies
876-926-7252, 876-968-9485
Source Industrial Sales & Servs Ltd
JA$399 to JA$2085
18B Lyndhurst Rd (5)
Automatic Control Engineering Ltd
JA$399 to JA$2085
31 DeCarteret Road Mandeville Manchester
876-962-2773, 876-962-6386, 876-962-6387
Jamaica Microfilm Incorp Co Ltd
JA$399 to JA$2085
Suite A *5 Balmoral Avenue, Kingston 10 St. Andrew
Enerbiz Ltd
JA$399 to JA$2085
Unit 7 30-32 Red Hills Rd (10)
Jamaica Public Service Co Ltd
JA$399 to JA$2085
6 Knutsford Boulevard, Kingston 5 Jamaica
876-929-2330, 876-926-3190, 888-935-5577,
TradeWorks Jamaica Industries Ltd
JA$399 to JA$2085
4 East Bell Rd (11)
Burton Steer Energy Solutions
JA$399 to JA$2085
Shop 6 Catherine Hall Plaza Montego Bay, St James Jamaica
T N T Equipment Engineering Servs
JA$399 to JA$2085
5 Columbus Drive Kingston 20 Jamaica
Geddes Refrigeration Ltd
JA$399 to JA$2085
226 Spanish Town Road Kingston 11 Jamaica
876-923-6521, 876-923-6522, 876-937-4967, 876-937-4968, 876-937-4969, 876-757-2203, 888-991-5976
Highlight Electrical Sales & Servs Ltd
JA$399 to JA$2085
133 Maxfield Avenue Kingston 10 Jamaica
876-929-0454, 876-968-0208, 876-929-2207
Carib Hardware & Electrical Supplies
JA$399 to JA$2085
40 West Street, Port Antonio Jamaica
Dilandy Import Auto Parts
JA$399 to JA$2085
26 Half Way Tree Road, Kingston 5 Jamaica
876-631-1494, 876-539-7798
Stephenson's Electronics Servs Ltd
JA$399 to JA$2085
54 Main Street, Ocho Rios St. Ann
Estech Energy Ltd
JA$399 to JA$2085
226 Spanish Town Road, Kingston 11 St. Catherine
876-937-4967, 876-812-0151, 876-838-8692
Pegasus Traders Ltd
JA$399 to JA$2085
11 Bell Road, Kingston 11 St. Andrew
876-758-3338, 876-969-2213
Colours Of Jamaica
JA$399 to JA$2085
Lot 14, Bogue Estate Fairview, Montego Bay Jamaica
876-979-8319, 876-979-8557, 876-684-9253

These companies are wholesale sellers of LED Bulbs and mainly import their LED from China and collectively account for 90% of the LED Wholesale market in Jamaica.

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Meanwhile the Residential lighting market for LED Light bulbs, which is mostly retail, is 90% controlled via import direct from China and Japan. Purchases by householders of LEDs are from wholesale and retail Chinese merchants in the supermarkets, roadside shops and vendors or in Downtown Kingston.

How to sell LED Light bulbs in Jamaica - Add in free Alternative Energy solution

Jamaicans are not really looking for LED light bulbs as many do not know the difference between LED, fluorescents and Incandescent bulbs, being as they look aesthetically similar.

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Albeit many may be making a switch towards LED’s as per the suggestion of the Government of Jamaica (Smith, A. 2019, May 9), cost is still a factor in the purchasing decisions of the average Jamaican. The focus of many Jamaicans is on cheap, low cost and long lasting lighting alternatives.

If you plan to sell LED's in Jamaica, it is best to sell them at the same price or lower than traditional light bulbs. Also, it would be best to include a way to recharge the bulbs, preferably via a built in Li-Ion Battery or via a Solar or wind powered system (Mian, 2019, June 2), essentially a form  of free energy.

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Once sold in a convenient low cost package, the Jamaican LED and Alternative energy market can easily be controlled, as LED's are yet to fully replace Fluorescent and Incandescent bulbs.

1.      The Jamaica Gleaner. (2014, January 7). Ministry Pushes LED Bulbs To Cut Energy Bill. Retrieved from
2.      Bryan, C. (2017, October). Jamaicans Urged to Use LED Lights. Retrieved from
3.      Williams, R. (2018, February 6). 35,000 LED Street Lights to Be Installed this Year. Retrieved from
4.      The Jamaica Gleaner. (2018, May 10). CARICOM Moving To Phase Out Incandescent Bulbs By September. Retrieved from
5.      Williams, R. (2018, May 17). Minister Williams Hails JPS Initiative to Install 105,000 LED Street Lights. Retrieved from
6.      The Jamaica Gleaner. (2019, February 26). JPS To Upgrade 25,000 Streetlights To LED This Year. Retrieved from
7.      Smith, A. (2019, May 9). Jamaicans Encouraged to Take Steps to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions. Retrieved from
8.      Mian, Z. (2019, June 2). Electricity For The Poor, An Unconventional Approach. Retrieved from