JPS to appear before Cabinet next Monday, to address long standing issues

The Jamaica Public Service Company, JPSCo is to appear before the next sitting of cabinet on Monday, September 12, to address several long standing issues related to the company’s service.

This, as cabinet approved a request by Energy Minister Daryl Vaz for managers, shareholders and directors of JPS to make a presentation on the issues.

Last week, the Minister issued a press release expressing dissatisfaction with the handling of long-standing customer satisfaction issues by the company.

JPS has been asked to brief the cabinet on measures to ensure power stability as the hurricane season progresses; issues concerning delays in adding new customers to the grid; persistent and unscheduled power outages, and relocation of poles.

The company will also be required to address actions to compensate citizens who suffered damage or loss of income due to long and/or unplanned power outages.

Meantime, JPS is refuting the claims made by the Energy Ministry regarding the quality of service it provides customers.

In a release, the company says it is surprised that the ministry issued a news release with several inaccuracies, when it had been trying unsuccessfully for months to convene a meeting with the ministry to discuss the issues highlighted in the release, as well as other matters of national importance that have the potential to impact the cost of electricity and the reliability of supply significantly.

The JPS says these issues include how the ministry could help fight the massive theft of electricity, a national response to soaring global fuel prices, a path to the addition of renewable generation, and the impact of supply chain upheavals on the sector.

JPS says it always expedites the connection of customers to the grid because more customers mean lower tariffs.

It says it is not aware of 100,000 customers waiting to be connected to the grid, as the company’s records show just under 1,000 outstanding new applications for service.

It says these applications have been delayed by global supply chain challenges, a situation that is not unique to JPS or Jamaica.

JPS says key equipment such as conductors, transformers, poles and insulators are in short supply due to material shortage, shipment and logistics delays.

As it regards the relocation of some 100 poles, JPS says it has made significant progress with relocating transmission and distribution poles to facilitate the south coast highway improvement project.

It notes it has already relocated some 440 poles along the entire project area, with the focus now on the final 108 poles which should be complete by the end of September.

Meantime, JPS says unplanned outages which cause inconvenience to customers are an in-escapable reality of power systems across the world.

It explains that there can be no guarantee of uninterruptible power in the face of uncontrollable factors such as weather conditions, motor vehicle accidents, or equipment failure.

The company says since the start of the hurricane season, there has been the expected increase in average unplanned outages as a result of thunderstorms and in particular lightning, from several systems that have impacted the region.

Despite this, JPS says it is restoring customers faster with 85% of unplanned outages in August resolved within 24 hours of being reported, compared to 75% in 2021.

JPS adds that supply reliability has improved in the majority of parishes in 2022.


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