Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Hon. Phillip Paulwell, has informed that a “slight amendment” to the law governing the Net Billing Programme will be undertaken in a bid to resume the initiative.Speaking at the opening of the Energy Services Company (ESCO) Jamaica conference at the Knutsford Court Hotel, in New Kingston, on January 27, Mr. Paulwell said although there was a pause in the programme, “we have committed to the re-opening of it.”
“There was a slight snag in that the new law mandates the Electricity Sector Enterprise Team (ESET) to be responsible for new generation capacity. We have met and we believe that it is not appropriately placed at ESET, and the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) is going to resume processing these licences. We are doing a slight amendment to the law to facilitate that,” the Minister said.
He further noted that after the processing procedure is completed, the Ministry grants the necessary licence, adding that a total of 300 net billing licences have been issued since the programme began in 2012.The award of the licences is part of measures to liberalize the energy sector and diversify the energy base. These licences allow persons to sell excess energy generated through renewable sources to the Jamaica Public Service (JPS) grid. A review was undertaken earlier this year to examine the pilot period.
Mr. Paulwell encouraged more Jamaicans to establish their own solar photovoltaic systems and “contribute to that national goal of transforming our energy systems to utilise more renewable energy.”“The climate for utilising renewable energy in Jamaica has never been better and it started with the removal of the monopoly arrangement involving the PCJ, and the PCJ is now a competitor within the field. It started with the removal of taxation on solar equipment; it started with enabling DBJ to provide funding. Money is out there and people are utilising it. When I fly over Jamaica, people are using solar panels,” he said.
The ESCO Jamaica conference was held under the theme: ‘Energy Management, Our Future Depends on It’.The main goal of the conference was to mobilise stakeholders in Jamaica’s energy sector, in particular providers of energy services, around emerging knowledge and new information about the opportunities for sustainable business in the local ESCO industry.