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Jamaica gov’t blamed for high electricity cost

regionalziamianKINGSTON – Outgoing head of the Office of Utilities Regulation Ahmad Zia Mian has slammed the country’s political leaders for their failure to make and implement a decision on an alternative energy source for Jamaica.

Mian has also charged that the big ticket item which Energy Minister Phillip Paulwell is banking on to achieve lower electricity rates for Jamaicans – the multibillion-dollar 360-megawatt (MW) plant to be built by the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) – is dead.

In an exclusive interview with The Gleaner yesterday, Mian declared that the OUR has already indicated to Paulwell that it will have to return to the market and seek proposals from persons interested in constructing power plants as the JPS option is not workable.

However, Mian is not blaming the JPS.

The former energy policy/technical adviser at the World Bank lamented that Jamaicans would continue paying high electricity rates because of the bungling of the politicians.

“I am extremely disappointed as I came to Jamaica on loan from the World Bank from 1990 to 1994 to help with the expansion of the power, and the idea at that time was that by 2001-2002 the expansion of the power sector should be coal-based.

“But 2001-2002 came and no extension had been made, and by then the world scene had changed and we started looking at natural gas. I prepared a plan for implementation and by 2005 Jamaica should have had gas. If we had gone that route we would have saved Jamaica billions of dollars.”

According to Mian, after the 2003 general election the thinking changed and the endless debate started about gas or LNG as the alternative fuel source.

“This inability to make a decision and the one-upmanship has cost this country tremendously. You can say its this person’s fault or that person’s fault, but in all successive administrations there has been this inability to make a decision and implement it,” declared Mian. (Gleaner)

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