OUR wants regulatory framework for electric vehicles

THE Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) has recommended that the Government negotiates with Jamaica Public Service (JPS) to provide a licence amendment which would exclude electric vehicle (EV) charging from an activity that would be considered a “supply” of electricity.

The recommendation is among several mentioned in the company’s stakeholder consultation document regarding electric vehicles.

The document says that considering the definition of ‘supply’ under the Electricity Act, 2015 which is the activities involved in the sale of electricity to consumers, “there is the likelihood that the participation will be restricted to the current electricity provider in Jamaica which holds an exclusive licence to, inter alia, supply electricity.”

According to OUR, the approach would help to mitigate the risk of legal challenge, especially when EV charging market would become available in the country.

At an OUR webinar yesterday, which was aimed at highlighting aspects of its proposals, Valentine Fagan, electricity generation consultant, said the recommendation “would certainly open, in an amicable way, the market.”

Making reference to the status of e-mobility locally, Fagan explained that Jamaica is behind, when compared to other countries in the Caribbean region.

“For instance, Barbados is a first mover in the region and they have registered more than 400 EVs, and they are one of the largest world users of EVs on a per capita basis. In Cayman Islands, there were 160 EVs licensed to operate in 2019, but where are we in Jamaica?”

Fagan said that based on data received from Transport Authority (TA) of Jamaica, only 10 EVs were registered in 2018.

“It is safe to say we are lagging behind our regional partners, but the situation is not lost, as Jamaica is one of the Caribbean’s leaders in renewable energy deployment, so we intend to take up that lead position in terms of electric vehicle adoption,” he said.

At a Jamaica Public Service (JPS) Foundation-IDB electric mobility (e-mobility) digital forum in March, Science, Energy and Technology Minister Daryl Vaz said the JPS Foundation planned to deploy 12 EV charging stations under phase two of the ‘Building a Sustainable Electric Mobility Ecosystem for Inclusion and Access Project’, the first of which was scheduled to be commissioned in April.

The three-year project, which was launched in 2020 and is being funded by the IDB Lab, aims to ensure greater involvement by small businesses and other key stakeholders in the expansion of electric mobility in Jamaica.

— Brittny Hutchinson

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