The Ministry of Science, Energy and Technology is receiving technical assistance from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to address the issue of electricity theft.
Minister Darryl Vaz, said that the USAID and its lead consultant, Deloitte, are providing support under the Strengthening Utilities and Promoting Energy Reform (SUPER) Programme.
Making his contribution to the 2022/23 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, Minister Vaz informed that in 2021, the USAID and Deloitte established a working group comprising the Ministry, Jamaica Public Service (JPS), Jamaica Social Investment Fund, and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). 'The group has come to a consensus on a set of strategic policy concepts to address the issues of non-technical losses,' he said.
Currently, non-technical losses, which include electricity theft, account for approximately 18 to 20 per cent of electricity generation.
The Minister noted that the set of policy concepts are grouped into four categories - energy efficiency programmes, to reduce the demand from illegal users; communication and reporting, to build trust between relevant entities and encourage cooperation on loss-reduction activities and objectives; empowerment, to provide consumers with the tools to acquire legal electricity; and enforcement, which aims to discourage electricity theft through prosecution capabilities.
Vaz said that the first activity to be implemented is a house-wiring initiative, which was conceptualized under the empowerment category.
In addition, the IDB is funding a National Electricity Loss Reduction Plan (NELRP) Consultancy for Jamaica, which is being conducted by Estudios Energéticos Consultores (EEC).
'The IDB's non-technical losses audit consultancy with the EEC is allowing the Government to collaborate in conducting an energy loss independent audit report (ELIR) and preparing a national electricity loss reduction plan (NELRP),' he indicated.
The Minister told the House that the ELIR will focus on the factors that impact the level of technical and non-technical losses at the national, parish, and feeder levels, while the NELRP will define the roles, actions, time periods, benefit-costs, targets, and other elements needed to reduce losses.
Meanwhile, Minister Vaz told the House that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to drive a rise in consumer demand for electricity.
He informed that electricity generation has increased by two per cent over the period, with the renewable energy share remaining at 13 per cent.
The alternative energy share, based on Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), also remained at 59 per cent.