JPS announces $45M COVID-19 relief package

President and Chief Executive Officer of JPS, Emanuel DaRosa (left). Listening (from second left) are Deputy Assistant Secretary for Asia and the Americas at the Office of International Affairs in the US Department of Energy, Beth Urbanas; and Minister of Science, Energy and Technology Fayval Williams. (Photo: JIS/File)

The Jamaica Public Service (JPS) has announced a $45-million assistance package to help in the fight against COVID-19.

The package will also benefit members of the disabled community and the elderly.

JPS President and CEO Emanuel DaRosa made the announcement at the company’s digital town hall meeting on Saturday, (March 28).

“It is critical for us to pull together to fight the effects of the global pandemic—which is taking a toll on both the health and economic frontier. Therefore, the JPS Foundation, in partnership with our shareholders Korea East-West Power (EWP), is purchasing diagnostic equipment and testing kits, at a value of approximately $35 million. These have already been ordered and are due to arrive in the island by mid-April,” he said.

The company has also committed to give assistance to the disabled community as well as the elderly who live alone, who are most at risk at this time.

This means that persons who have a JPS account, who are registered with the Jamaica Council for Persons with Disabilities or who are senior citizens who live alone, will not be disconnected for April and May. Additionally, the most vulnerable elderly will be receiving care packages.

Meanwhile, the JPS said it is also lobbying the Government for zero-rating of GCT on electricity for both commercial and residential customers; removal of the special consumption tax on fuel used in production of electricity by JPS and independent power producers; and assistance with securing stable and predictable access to foreign exchange used to procure fuel for power generation—in a bid to lower the cost of electricity.