Tue | Sep 29, 2020

Standpipe gets blackout relief from JPS

Published:Tuesday | August 11, 2020 | 12:21 AM
A Jamaica Public Service Company worker prepares to install a new system for residents of Standpipe, St Andrew, on Monday to access electricity supply legally.
A Jamaica Public Service Company worker prepares to install a new system for residents of Standpipe, St Andrew, on Monday to access electricity supply legally.

The Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) has granted an extension to residents of Standpipe, St Andrew, who have failed to regularise their power supply and upgrade on to a new monitoring and billing system.

An ultimatum of Friday, August 7 had been given for power to be disconnected from unregistered residents.

JPS said last week that more than 80 per cent of householders had been transferred to their new system, Hexing Advance Metering Infrastructure (AMI), an anti-theft device.

Programme Manager Marilyn McDonald confirmed on Monday that an extension had been reached, though a deadline is yet to be agreed on.

“Yes, there is an extension of some sort. We are trying to work and see how best we can work with the community some more,” McDonald told The Gleaner, though cautioning that the relief period would “not very long”.

Some residents were now seeking to subscribe to the new system at the last minute, she said.

The light and power company is insistent, however, that the switchover must be completed.

“We can’t operate like this forever, ... but we are working with the community a little more, as persons are now coming on,” McDonald said.

On Monday, JPS crews were on the ground carrying out their installations.

A resident who requested anonymity because power thieves often face stigma said the community was relieved at the extension.

“We nuh know how long, but we glad it never cut off Friday. Give more of the less fortunate some time to get things together, ‘cause nobody nuh really want inna darkness,” the resident said.

JPS said that 300 of an approximate 440 households in the community had initially got on to the grid legally. Another 63 households had registered by midweek last week.

The power company has sought to replace the older model with the Customer Display Unit (CDU) because it was vulnerable to breaches by electricity thieves.

JPS said that it spent US$659,000 on the new Hexing AMI system.

Standpipe is among the communities with the highest percentage of non-technical losses, JPS revealed.

In Standpipe’s case, non-technical losses are nearly 60 per cent.

andre.williams@gleanerjm.com