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St Catherine community moves to pay for light

Published:Wednesday | December 31, 2014 | 12:00 AMRasbert Turner
Rasbert Turner Photo President of the Ellerslie Gardens Providence Society, Shereen Lugg (left) accepts the terms and conditions for the agreement between the community and the Jamaica Public Service (JPS) from Errol Dias, JPS acting parish manager for St Catherine, while Olivia 'Babsy' Grange, member of parliament for Central St Catherine, looks on.

The community of Ellerslie Gardens in Spanish Town, St Catherine, is moving towards making its electricity consumption legal.

During a signing ceremony between the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) and representatives from the community yesterday, it was revealed that of approximately 700 households, 77 (or 11 per cent) have already signed up to be regularised.

Before yesterday, there were only two legal customers in the community.

"We think it is a very good thing to be regulated as they don't want to continue to steal the light," said Central St Catherine Member of Parliament Olivia 'Babsy' Grange, who took part in the ceremony.

"They will pay as although most are unemployed, they are decent persons who do vending to make themselves better."

The community is also home to teachers, lawyers, agronomists, and other persons who create an encouraging picture, Grange said.

Sherene Lugg, president of the Ellerslie Gardens Provident Society, called the regularisation of electricity in the community "a very good move".

"We can stop run now and seh 'Dem a come! Dem a come!'," she said.

Errol Dias, JPS's acting parish manager for St Catherine, said the light and power company welcomed the initiative, which is expected to be replicated islandwide.

"Previously, we lost 97 per cent of what we spent in the community, so this is certainly encouraging, and we hope it will work," Dias said.

He said the programme is intended to last six months and requires residents to wire their premises to be passed by JPS's technical team.