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Power probe - JPS responds to demands for info on blackout from energy minister and regulator

Published:Tuesday | April 19, 2016 | 4:00 AM
Police personnel direct traffic in Three Miles, Kingston, as traffic lights were out in the busy square and other sections of the metropolis Monday morning.
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The Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) yesterday indicated that it would submit a preliminary report, demanded by Energy Minister Dr Andrew Wheatley and the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR), on the widespread outage that affected all parishes on Sunday.

Audrey Williams, corporate communications officer at JPS, confirmed that the preliminary report would have been submitted last evening.

Wheatley, in a release to the media yesterday, called for the JPS to provide him with a full report on the outage.

The minister said he would be meeting with the company by midweek.

"Widespread failure in the electricity supply to consumers is unacceptable and inconsistent with Jamaica's moves towards attaining developed-country status," the minister said.

"As a country, we must endeavour to ensure reliable and consistent supply of this crucial resource. It is, therefore, important for the JPS to outline to the country the cause of the outages and the steps that are being implemented to prevent any future recurrence of widespread outages across the island."

The OUR also requested both a preliminary and detailed report on the outage.

The regulator said it had written to the power company to stress that it was obliged to submit the detailed report within 30 days of restoration of power.

Williams told The Gleaner that JPS has committed to submitting the report in the next 30 days.

In its release to the media, JPS said investigations into what caused its systems to go offline were in progress.

According to the release, preliminary information points to the problem developing as a result of scheduled work on two major power lines to facilitate road-widening work in the Three Miles area.

"With these lines being unavailable for a longer-than-expected period, the power system was particularly vulnerable, and subsequently failed as the demand for electricity increased during the peak hours. This resulted in outages across sections of the island," the release said.

JPS also indicated that it is continuing to respond to reports of isolated outages, which are not related to Sunday's incident.