Sat | May 30, 2020

Paulwell says JPS turning a blind eye to electricity theft uptown

Published:Friday | May 4, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Phillip Paulwell

Opposition spokesman on energy, Phillip Paulwell, has argued that "it appears the JPS (Jamaica Public Service Company Limited) is focused almost exclusively on poorer communities while turning a blind eye to the illegal extraction of electricity taking place in affluent areas".

Paulwell made it clear that he did not support the stealing of electricity.

In his contribution to the Sectoral Debate in Parliament recently, the opposition spokesman on energy pointed out that in 2015, the National Energy Solutions Limited upgraded and wired electricity connections in the Windward Court community. However, he said three years later, premises certified for connection are without electricity meters and legitimate access to light and power, even though scores of residents have applied. He said the residents have been frustrated by the lack of response of the JPS.

"Rather than assisting the residents in regularising their access to electricity, the JPS raids the area so regularly that it seems that raiding is its core business and the supply of electricity is secondary. JPS needs to do better than that and the Government and the regulator must hold them accountable. It is not fair," he said.

He cautioned the light and power company that even though it currently enjoys huge market share in the production and distribution of electricity, customer growth, loyalty and satisfaction must remain sacrosanct.

"Very soon, technological innovations will provide the consumer with very affordable options," Paulwell added.

Turning to the cost of electricity, the member of parliament said the Government has a duty to ensure that Jamaicans are provided with electricity at the lowest possible cost.

He indicated that while steps have been taken to address efficiency in relation to electricity generation, "we still have issues in relation to the transmission and distribution to address."

Paulwell added, "The JPS continues to have persistent inefficiencies in both the technical and non-technical areas of their transmission and distribution network. The heat rate and line losses remain too high, while the level of theft continues to be unacceptable."

He called on the Government, the energy minister and the utilities regulator to bring pressure to bear on the JPS to provide a detailed plan to address this continued situation.

edmond.campbell@gleanerjm.com