United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development


Thematic Discussion : Improving Access to reliable, affordable, economically viable,
socially acceptable and environmentally sound energy services
One of the goals of the Jamaica Energy Policy is ensuring that the poor and vulnerable in
society are provided with affordable energy, including those in deep rural Jamaica . In this
regard, under the Rural Electrification Programme, the task of which was to bring
electricity to all rural communities throughout the island there has been significant
contribution to the improved standard of living of rural householders and stimulated
economic activity .
The programme has also helped stern the migration from rural areas to the cities- Up to
March 2005, 4,800 km of electrical distribution pole line have been extended, and over
69,000 houses wired- This has raised the percentage of electrification from around 50%
when the programme started to 90% today . Based on surveys that have been done in the
fields, it is estimated that another 15,600 houses are left to be wired and another 860 km
of pole line to be built to give these households access. Under the REP, the government
provided homeowners with a loan a no interest cost with repayment required over a 48-
month period_ As part of the project also, some homes were fitted with photovoltaic
systems .
As an extension of the REP, an Urban Electricity Regularization Programme (UERP) was
established to assist residents in the inner-city areas to regularize their house wiring and
to access electricity legally . Currently an amnesty has been granted by the local
electricity provider .for householders that are illegally connected, to go in and regularize
their connections without facing sanctions . To date there has been some success .
Challenges include : 1) Lack of finance for rural energy programmes and 2) financing to
maintain these programmes .