Sunday 24 September, 2017

OUR says it saved JPS customers over 9 billion

The Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) has said it saved electricity consumers over $9 billion on their Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) bills.

In a statement late last week, the OUR said the massive savings resulted from its successful defence of a claim by the JPS for it to recover from the consumers, the cost of a 2008 reclassification of certain positions at the power company.

A long legal battle ended with a judgment on July 6, in which the United Kingdom Privy Council rejected an appeal from the JPS to bill its customer for the cost of the reclassification exercise.

The JPS had first filed a claim with the OUR on March 11, 2009, seeking approval to recover $4.27 billion that was incurred for salary payments to employees and related taxes, via a tariff adjustment using the Z-factor provision in its licence.

But the OUR rejected the application, which the JPS then took progressively to the All-island Electricity Appeal Tribunal, the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal, which all rejected the claim.

The JPS then sought leave to appeal to the Privy Council, which also dismissed the claim.

In its statement, the OUR outlined that if the JPS had been successful in its appeal to the Privy Council, its customers would have had to repay the $4.27 billion, plus interest of 12.56 per cent per annum from 2010 to 2017, amounting to an estimated $9.78 billion to to date.