April 21, 2020
JPS is reporting that the Company has seen an overall decrease in the consumption of electricity by approximately 2.5% for the month of March. However, the residential customer category has increased its consumption of electricity since the start of the COVID19 outbreak by about 3% overall, very likely due to the fact that many of these customers are spending more time at home. In several instances, persons who would have been out of the home working, for at least 8 hours, are now working at home, alongside children who are being home-schooled, due to safety measures introduced to limit the spread of COVID-19. In fact, there are instances where residential customers have increased their electricity consumption varying from 5 to 50%.
JPS wishes to remind customers to use energy efficiently at this time, in order to manage their energy costs. The Company is also encouraging customers to observe the usage chart to the left of the bill, as this gives a visual representation of the customers’ usage trend each month. Customers who used the same number of kilowatt hours in the present bill, as the previous one, will notice that their current bill has remained relatively level.
In addition to the increased usage, JPS also wishes to clarify the situation surrounding oil prices on the world market as this relates to JPS bills. Up to a few years ago, the country was more than 90% dependent on oil. As a consequence, customers’ bills were impacted by the volatility of oil prices and both the JPS and Government of Jamaica sought to diversify the country’s fuel mix to protect customers and promote energy security. In 2016 Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) was first introduced into the mix. Today, the fuel mix is approximately one third Oil, two thirds Liquefied Natural Gas, with a small percentage in renewables. At this present time, LNG prices remain constant and higher than oil.
Given this mix, the fall in oil prices will not register significantly on bills. This situation was completely unforeseen and indeed unprecedented. Additionally, JPS cannot simply switch back to oil, as it has contractual commitments for the consumption of LNG.
In the meanwhile, JPS continues to assure its customers, especially those in lock-down, that it will continue to serve and support them at this time. JPS reminds all to stay safe and take the necessary precautions to protect themselves and their households during this challenging period.