Sun | Aug 20, 2017

Smart home for Montego Bay by year end

Published:Monday | July 11, 2016 | 7:00 AM
Kelly Tomblin (centre), president and CEO of the Jamaica Public Service Company, and Gary Barrow (right), chief technology officer, interact with customer Winston Prendergast at a soirée at the White Witch Golf Club last Thursday night.

Western Bureau:

Jamaica's tourism capital, Montego Bay, will house the country's first smart home in a Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) pilot project, says president of the organisation, Kelly Tomblin.

"We are right now doing the framework, so we should be ready by the end of the year," Tomblin told the media during a soirÈe last Thursday night at the White Witch Golf Club in Rose Hall, St James.

Tomblin's announcement comes as the company is enjoying a boom in business in the resort town.

A smart home forms part of the intelligent smart grid that is now being implemented by JPS, the sole distributor of electricity in the country.

 

REMOTE COMMUNICATION

 

Explaining the concept, Tomblin said owners will be able to communicate with their homes remotely.

"A smart home is one that has appliances and lighting and mobile apps and a smart meter. It allows you to be able to monitor energy use. Even if you leave your home and you drive away forgetting to turn off your air conditioner, it allows you to turn it off remotely."

With the trial being done in the Second City, Tomblin believes it will catch on elsewhere.

According to Tomblin, Montego Bay was selected for this game-changing project because the city has shown a lot of interest in technology.

"We are seeing a lot of interest in net-zero homes and sustainable homes ... and a lot of people want a blend in energy services and information, which tends to be key now."

Montego Bay, she added, was also selected based on the number of new houses and buildings being constructed there, a number of them energy efficient.

 

MORE SMART METERS

 

In the meantime, the electricity company is issuing 20,000 more smart meters, some of which will be distributed in the tourism capital. Already, the company has roughly 60,000 customers on the grid.

Tomblin is hoping to decrease business operators and homeowners' bills with the use of smart meters, owing to the fact these can be read electronically and would not require the visit of a meter reader, whose use of a vehicle would contribute to pricing.

With smart meters, the cost for printing a paper bill will be replaced by e-bills, and the annoying disconnection/reconnection fees will be a thing of the past, added the JPS head.

janet.silvera@gleanerjm.com