FACING THE 'BURDEN OF POWER'

FACING THE 'BURDEN OF POWER'

For those customers who remain on the grid, a "burden of power" will fall on their laps. Grid costs are fixed and will be spread across the now smaller customer base.

A 2017 JPS Energy Consumption, Behaviours and Perceptions in Large Establishments Study revealed that 76.1 per cent of commercial customers surveyed reported to have perceived such impacts should customers - especially larger industrial customers - leave the grid; however, this was not found to dissuade them from supplementing their energy or leaving the grid altogether.

In fact, an earlier JPS Demand and Feasibility Study found a strong interest in increased distributed generation in Jamaica by both business and residential customer segments (97.2 per cent and 95.3 per cent, respectively). Though the current market penetration for renewable energy systems is much lower than perceived among businesses and households, if these responses are anything to go by, this will continue to trend upwards.

As the capital costs of DERs continue to decrease, parity with the grid will be achieved and it will appear to be more feasible for customers to take the 'power' into their own hands.

The fact is, distributed generation is here to stay. Already, new entrants and non-traditional players are flocking the market to fulfil the needs of consumers.

On the international scene, Tesla's Powerwall enables customers to seamlessly self-power their homes and Comcast is selling residential solar. Local market statistics have indicated a roughly 300 per cent increase in the number of players in the renewable energy solutions sector in the last 10 years; this isn't counting utility-scale providers such as Wigton. These players are taking advantage of technology evolution and market conditions to sell directly to our customers.