Court rules that JPS' exclusive license is invaled

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The Jamaica Public service defence team is now planning its appeal after the Supreme Court yesterday ruled that the exclusive license granted to them is not valid.

Queen's Counsel (QC) Michael Hylton, who represents the JPS, said JPS did not apply for a stay of the judge's ruling because the court did not strike down the license which was granted to JPS.

The ruling means that the minister, in granting a licence, cannot fetter his discretion precluding other applicants from entering the market, and that was the heart of the claimants' case.

Even though the judged ruled the licence as invalid, he also made it clear that the minister had the lawful authority to grant licence to a one operator to provide electricity, whether generation, distribution and retailing for the whole Island.

High electricity cost is what led disgruntled customers to challenge the exclusive licence granted to JPS by the then minister of mining and energy in 2001.

The Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) was also a defendant as the claimants put forward the argument that it recommended the amendment to the exclusive licence. But Judge Sykes said the OUR, acted within its statutory remit, and there was no evidence to prove that it made the recommendation.

Costs were awarded in favour of the claimants against the attorney general and the JPS.