Prospects for Competition in the Electricity Sector

The recent ruling by Supreme Court Justice Bryan Sykes rejecting the exclusivity of the JPS licence may very well prove to be a catalyst for terminating the endless debate and inciting genuine transformation in the electricity sector.

Uncharacteristically in a country where disagreement is the norm, there is almost perfect national accord that the escalating cost of electricity is inimical to the interest of industry, commerce, and consumers alike and a deterrent to national growth and development; further, it exacerbates Jamaica’s relative global competitiveness deficits with the potential to frustrate our national vision of developed country status by 2030. Unfortunately, our capacity

for interminable debate continues to delay treatment of what is fast becoming a national emergency. MMThe World Bank Report of 2011 entitled “Jamaica: Unlocking Growth,” identified Jamaica’s high crime rate, low skill level of its workers, and the cost of electricity as the major impediments to growth, serving to constrain the productive capacity, retard economic and social development and reduce the competitiveness of Jamaican firms in the regional and international marketplace. International evidence also suggests that there is significant, negative correlation between electricity prices and real GDP, exports, competitiveness, and innovation.

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