So much misconception about coal clouds the debate about energy cost

As the GOJ pushes to drive the economy forward, coal has once again surfaced a s means of providing low cost electricity to the country.

Not so fast said the environmentalist, who have provide a host of data to prove that going to coal is a backward step and would do more to harm the environment than to lift Jamaica out of poverty and the clutches of the IMF.

I must state categorically that I am in support of coal being a part of the energy mix and make no apology for my position.

The view held by many is often based on flawed data and flawed conclusion from this data, coupled with the fact that many of these people talking about how dirty coal is are NOT in tune with the technological strides that have been made to reduce emissions from coal.

Many hold up China as the poster child to how dirty coal is and why Jamaica should NOT include coal in the mix.

I will leave you with this article, not to try and convince you, but instead to provide you with more information on what is happening in this field.






Taxing us all to benefit a few, is that really fair ?

There has been mixed views on the recent set of tax measures outlined by the JLP to fulfill an election promise of elimination of income tax for those earning $1.5m or less. While the plan was not realized exactly as promised and the timeline has been pushed back one year, the government has delivered something.

Many people however thinks the plan was a bad one given that the taxes being imposed will affect everyone, while one a small number of people stand to benefit from the income tax break.

I am mildly amused to hear people suggest, that had it not been for the $1.5m there would have been no need to impose more taxes on us.

Truth be told, I can hardly recall a budget that has been read in my adult life, which has not had a tax component ie almost every budget that I can recall has asked us to pay more taxes.

In all of these budgets, we the PAYE workers got back little or nothing . In this budget PAYE workers are actually getting back something in their pockets for the sacrifices these have made for decades, paying income taxes for the over 800,000 workers who pays NOTHING to the government coffers.

Income tax is a most unfair and unjust tax as less than half of those earning an income in this country pay for the entire working population of over 1.3M.

Now the government is giving back something to those of those who pay and we hear loud noises from those who pay diddly squat in income taxes even though they earn an income.

The fact is I have more money in my pocket and I can now decide how I spend it. I plan my trips better and conserve on gas as one should always do regardless of the price

What is ironic is that even the the $7.00 SCT, gas price is $10.00 less per liter than it was at the same period last year.

Kudos to the Government, this is a massive step in the right direction.

BTW SCT is not applied to fuel used by JPS and so there will be NO INCREASE in electricity prices as a result of the SCT increase.

Did the outgoing administration sign a contract with JPS

News ha emerged the outgoing administration may have signed a contract  between the GOJ and JPS in the dead of the night on the eve of the elections ..

The contract was reported to have been signed around 10:57 pm on Feb 24, 2016.

Reports suggest that this contract could result in as much as 20% increase in the cost of electricity to consumers and is a compensation factor for non technical losses.

If, true, this warrants and immediate investigation and the full contract must be made public.

I urge Dr Wheatley, the new minister to order an immediate investigation and make the findings public.

Steps I would have taken to solve #badgas mystery

After almost 2 months we are not further along in determining the following

  1. What is the contaminant in the fuel that is causing issues being motorist.
  2. What is the concentration of the contaminant that is responsible for the problem
  3. What is the source or possible sources of the contaminant.
  4. How was this introduced into the gas being circulated in the trade.

What do we know so far

  1. Motorist are having engine problems after purchasing gas
  2. Unwashed gum in gas is above limit of 5mg/100 ml
  3. Unwashed gum is said to be the contaminant, but how can that be when it is always present in gas.
  4. Rubis gas appears to have highest concentration of unwashed gum
  5. BSJ cannot conduct testing and must rely on a third party for some test

Steps that ought to be taken or should have been taken

  1. Samples of gas taken from stations should be sent to an accredited oil testing facility
  2. Testing facility should be asked to determine specific chemical composition of fuel and concentration of each chemical present.
  3. Testing facility should be asked to do comparison of chromatography with known “good” samples of similar grade fuel .
  4. Testing facility should be asked to compare both reading to international acceptable composition and concentration.
  5. Testing facility should be asked comment on results and likely effect of higher concentrations of chemicals on engines performance.
  6. Testing facility should be sent larger volumes of fuel and asked to facilitate  testing  on two test engines under tropical climactic  conditions and review performance results. One test to be conducted with know good quality fuel and second with suspected fuel.
  7. Testing facility should be asked to comment on results of test above and determine if issues being annunciated by motorist is reflective of test results that have been observed.
  8. Testing facility should be sent copies of Certificate of Quality (CoQ) for all imported fuel over the last six months, the CoQ is a standard requirement.
  9. Testing facility should be sent test results conducted by all importers over the last six months as well as retained fuel samples. These are supposed to be available  as under the Petroleum Quality Control Act(PQCA) , these results are to be kept for three years and submitted to the Minister of Mining and Energy on a Quarterly basis
  10. Testing facility should be sent samples of all fuel blends and additives well as test results after blending. Once again as mandated by the PQCA these are to be retained for 3 years and copies sent to the Minister of Mining and Energy
  11. Testing facility should complete testing on both imports and blended product and comment of chromatography plus other test results.
  12. Testing should facility should comment on effect on additive on final blend and possible issues if any when used in the concentration as noted from chromatography testing.
  13. All data related to date of import, date of blend, concentration of additives, type of additive, days between blend, storage and delivery, date gas was been delivered from these blends and to which stations they were delivered .
  14. All data related to stations ordered closed and test results from these stations and correlation between these stations and dates of delivery of each blend of fuel should be  examined.
  15. Status of  fuel storage tank when fuel was received ie volumes of fuel that was present in underground storage tank . We are trying to establish ratio of old fuel vs new fuel. All this information to be analysed by testing facility.


In short order one can be able to determine with a great degree of certainty the following

  1. If poor quality fuel was imported in the first place, with contaminants or concentration for certain chemicals above international recognized or accepted volumes.
  2. If fuel became contaminated or suspect after blending and agent that was responsible for this.
  3. Establish a clear link between the importer, blender, distributor and the affected gas station.
  4. Establish culpability for the issue.
  5. Determine how exiting volumes of #badgas should be disposed of


Is the above beyond the Professor and his time.

Mind you I have no Professor title, so I may be unqualified to speak on this matter, but despite this fact, the above would form a great part of my approach to solve this GREAT mystery.



Rubis was subject of “contaminated” gas in Cayman in 2013 !

It is highly unlikely that consumers will receive any compensation from the fuel marketing companies given what I have unearth from a similar investigation carried out in Cayman in 2013.

Excerpts from that report

Arising out of the increased number of complaints relating to suspected fuel quality issues across the three Islands, the Petroleum Inspectorate (PI) launched an investigation into the matter in August 2013. The scope of the investigation was essentially to determine whether fuel of dubious quality was being imported and marketed locally and further, assess the possibility of local contamination as a result of equipment integrity issues or poor operating procedures by fuel handlers.

Customer complaints

  • “Car is performing poorly since fueling-up at XX Gas Station” 

  • “Engine/Fuel light on and car had to be taken to shop” 

  • “Encountered serious problems with my car and took it to mechanic/garage and they had to flush tank and change components (at significant costs) to get my car running again”

  •  “Car (Engine) is vibrating heavily and stuttering”

  •  “Having serious issues with vehicle starting in morning, during the day the p problem goes away”

  •  “Vehicle is not developing power as it should” (high-end vehicle operators)

All the above seems similar to what we are seeing in Jamaica.

Lab Results

Analysis was carried out for select parameters for both premium and regular grades of gasoline as shown in the Table 1 above. The significant parameters for which ‘dilution’ could potentially impact the results were MMT (hence OI) and Existent Gum.

Existent Gum

This parameter was found to be above the upper limit set by the standard test and while Esso provided explanation and somewhat ‘justification’ for their results, Rubis results which were significantly higher remains unexplained by the company. However, based on (details of) complaints received and the limited technical information obtained from garages and mechanics across the Islands, the symptoms were not indicative that this was likely a significant contributor to the problems most motorists experienced. This parameter has been flagged for follow-up monitoring and discussions.


This is the shortened name for manganese (compound) which is added to gasoline to improve its Octane rating.

This parameter is tested to ensure the concentration of MMT is within acceptable limits as set by a particular jurisdiction. Due to absence of legally mandated limits in Cayman Islands, Rubis currently utilizes US EPA standards for this additive of up to 1/32 gram per US gallon, while ESSO utilizes treat rate consistent with allowable limits in Canada and Australia up to a maximum 18mg/Liter concentration.

Overall, the specifications (or limits) for the parameters tested are acceptable at this time by Petroleum Inspectorate, that is, we have no reason or basis to substantially challenge the limits established by the industry which is defined under ASTM D 4814 standard for gasoline. The Vapor Pressure and Existent Gum limits would require research and analysis to ensure practical limits are established for Cayman Islands and any limitation of the analysis will be thoroughly evaluated. By similar token, the actual test results were acceptable for all samples except the Existent Gum, but to reiterate, this could not be considered a root cause of the issues motorists were experiencing

Link to the above  article can be found here Contaminated Fuel Report

Based on the above, it is likely that Rubis will remain very strong in defending its position and highly unlikely that Jamaican motorist will get any sort of compensation from the marketing companies, specifically Rubis.

Another commonsenseja investigative piece.



Phillip Paulwell should be held accountable for #badgasscandal

The Energy Minister Phillip Paulwell have so far refused to name the importer, marketing company and distributor of the contaminated fuel that has been on the markets since November.

I would like it be known, that Phillip Paulwell has fell down on the job once again and MUST be the one held accountable for the bad gas that is now on the market.

I know people will say, the minister cannot be held responsible for everything because he has other folks working for him and to that point I say, well you have a point there. The fact however is the Minister in this case has chosen to hold unto information that could possible exonerate himself, but has instead chosen to keep the information a secret.

Given the posture by the Minister, I wish to point readers to the Petroleum Quality Control Act, which is what is used to guide petrol quality in Jamaica. I will point you to very specific sections of the act, where the Minister cannot shy away from his responsibilities, since this sections sets out the reports that are to be submitted to to Minister on a regular basis.

Records 17.—

  • A producer of any of the petroleum products appearing in the FOU~~ Fourth Schedule shall in respect of each year keep a record of the amount of Schedule every petroleum product produced.
  • (2) An importer of petroleum or of any of the petroleum products Firs1 specified in the First Schedule shall keep a record of the source and disposition Schedule of each shipment of petroleum products.
  • (3) A bulk distributor of petroleum blending stock or of any of the petroleum products the Fourth Schedule shall keep a record of the source of, and every transaction relating to, such blending stock or petroleum product.
  • (4) A blender of petroleum blending stock or of any of the petroleum products specified in the Fourth Schedule shall keep a record of the volume of each component blended.
  • (5) Every record referred to in paragraph (I), (2), (3) or (4) shall be retained for a period of three years from the date on which the record is made.
  • (6) A person who is required by this regulation to maintain a record shall- (a) provide a copy of any inspection, including the results of any analyses, carried out under the Act;
    1. (h) provide a comparison with the specifications, set out in regulation 10, for each quantity of product sold or transferred to a bulk distributor, producer, bulk user or retailer or to any other person to whom the petroleum product is sold or transferred; and
    2. (c) if requested by the Minister to do so-
      1. (i) produce the record for inspection within the time specified in the request;
      2. (ii) copy or report in writing to the Minister, the contents of such record as is specified in the request within thirty days of the date of receipt of the written request



The act sets forth very specific reporting requirements to the minister and a such Phillip Paulwell or is aides must have been made aware of the #badgas before the complaints started or at least should have had that information very soon after.

According to the act as set out below the Minister should have had test results forwarded to him, so I am not not sure why the BSJ is running around doing test save and expect to confirm the information already available  to the minister by the importers/distributors.

Let’s have a read, I extracted the relevant sections.

Report to Minister

Section  18.

  • Every person who produces, imports or exports any petroleum product specified in the Fourth Schedule shall submit to the Minister for each quarter during which the petroleum product is produced, imported or exported, within fifteen days after the last day of each quarter, the information set out in Sixth Schedule.
  • Every person who is a producer, importer, bulk distributor or blender of any petroleum product specified in the Fourth Schedule and who sells, distributes or transfers such product to a retailer or to a bulk user shall submit to the Minister, in respect of each quarter during which the petroleum product is sold, and within fifteen days after the last day of each quarter, the information set out in the Sixth Schedule.


Section 19

 Sampling and Analysis of Petroleum Products


  1. producer, importer, blender or bulk distributor of any petroleum product specified in the Fourth Schedule; or
  2. retailer or bulk user of gasolene or any petroleum product specified in the Fourth Schedule, shall provide the Minister or any person authorized by the Minister in writing, with a sample of such gasolene or petroleum product for the purpose of determining the composition or quality of the product compared to the specifications contained in the Second Schedule.

Can the Minister therefore tell the nation what really happened here, since it is very clear to me (at least) that Phillip Paulwell has once again fell down on the job.

I urge the Minister to reveal the full information on the #badgasscandal or bear full responsibility for the mess that is now unfolding before us.


Full copy of act can be found here


Bad gas Scandal- Updated !

So the Minister has asked that 17 gas station be closed for selling bad gas.

The Minister has failed to ask publicly for the distributors of bad gas to close.

Minister ,who imported the bad gas in November ?

Who signed the permit for the importation of the bad gas?

What is the link between the importer and the PNP if any ?

We have one Denominator  ie the Importer/Distributor and multiple Numerator is the Gas Station Owner and Consumers, but who does the GOJ go after, you guess right the ones at the end.

How easy would it be to identify the importer/distributor, pretty ease right ?

What would it cost the country to identify the importer/distributor, next to nothing, right?

So the question is, why did we not go the easier, most cost effective and most direct route?

The minister choose instead the most expensive, timing consuming and least direct route. We have people from the BSJ who could have been otherwise engaged driving to stations and wasting gas to collect gas, take it back to the BSJ and then perform testing.

All the above is going to run into millions of dollars, while the potential exist for the importer to continue to sell bad gas in the trade to ensure all that was imported is off loaded.

We sure have a very smart and astute Minister of Energy , who is wasting energy to catch the bad guy, when a simple call to the Commissioner of Customs and  emailed scanned copy of the import entry could have solved this problem in less than 15 minutes.

So the man at the end of the food chain suffers but someone made millions from the bad gas and is likely to face not penalty, will the public allow this injustice to happen?


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