About Jamaica Public Service
JPS is the sole distributor of electricity in Jamaica. We are the proud inheritor of a tradition that dates back to 1892, when Jamaica first received electricity. This placed Jamaica in the enviable position of being one of the first in the world to have electricity, and only thirteen years after American scientist Thomas Edison had invented the electric lamp. In that year, the first electricity service in the island was supplied by the Jamaica Electric Light Company from a plant at Gold Street, in Kingston.
In 1897, another company, the West India Electric Company, established an office in Kingston at 151 Orange Street. They built the hydroelectric plant on the Rio Cobre River at Bog Walk, which consisted of three machines, each with the capacity to deliver over 300 kilowatts of energy. West India Electric not only extended electricity service to other areas, but also introduced a new element to the city scene – electric tramcars. Tramcars later replaced the horse drawn cabs, which had been providing public transport, and remained in service until 1948.
Early in 1907, a severe earthquake destroyed a section of Kingston, disrupting city life and public services. Following this, West India Electric leased the property and businesses of Jamaica Light & Power Company Ltd, successors to the Jamaica Electric Light Company, and integrated the Gold Street station into the Bog Walk Supply system. This resulted in a significant improvement in the service available to customers.
In the early days, several towns had their own electric companies; but through a process of consolidation, buy-outs and amalgamations, Jamaica Public Service Company Limited emerged and was registered in 1923. At that time, JPS had 3,928 customers, a far cry from today's customer base of over 585,000. JPS was granted an all-island franchise in 1966, and today remains the sole public supplier of electricity.
The nature of the ownership of JPS has changed several times throughout our history. The company started out as a private company, owned by foreign shareholders. In 1970, the Government of Jamaica acquired controlling interest. In 2001, ownership of JPS returned to private hands when Mirant Corporation, a US-based energy service provider acquired 80 percent of the company, with the Government retaining almost 20 percent. The remainder, amounting to less than 1 percent, is owned by a small group of shareholders.
In 2007, Mirant sold its majority shares to Marubeni Caribbean Power Holdings (MCPH) Inc, a subsidiary of Marubeni Corporation of Japan. In early 2009 Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (TAQA) of the United Arab Emirates, joined Marubeni as co-owner of the Jamaica Public Service Co. Ltd. Majority shares were therefore jointly held by Marubeni TAQA Caribbean.
In the first quarter of 2011, TAQA withdrew from the partnership with Marubeni in the Caribbean , due to a change in its corporate strategy. TAQA signaled its intention to focus primarily on the power sector in the Middle East and North Africa region. In the second quarter of 2011, Korea East West Power (EWP) entered into a Purchase and Sale Agreement with Marubeni Corporation for joint ownership of majority shares (80%) in the company. Today, Marubeni Caribbean and Korea East-West Power Company Ltd are the majority shareholders in the Jamaica Public Service Company Ltd.