Sat | Aug 15, 2020

Power cut, telecoms service loss force Gov't to review utilities

Published:Monday | September 5, 2016 | 12:00 AM

A week after Jamaica experienced its second islandwide power cut in four months, the Government has moved to establish a task force "to examine the state of utilities in Jamaica in light of recent devastating incidents".

The August 27 failure of Jamaica Public Service systems was followed by the extensive loss of telecommunication service provided by FLOW on the weekend.

"This administration is focused on growth and job creation, but this cannot be achieved without a reliable power grid and robust communications backbone," Science, Technology and Energy Minister Dr Andrew Wheatley said in a statement advising of the task force.


More outages last night


Wheatley's statement came as the JPS was forced to apologise for outages last night across sections of the Corporate Area. The JPS said the outages, which affected Molynes Road, Red Hills Road and other areas, occurred as a result of a shortfall in electricity generation, as one of its power partners was experiencing an issue with one of its generating units.

"This is the second time in as many weeks that the country has experienced a major utility service outage and this cannot be allowed to continue unchecked. So I will be putting together a task force to look into the root causes of these problems," he added.

The task force will comprise ministry, regulatory, academic and consumer representatives.

Its primary mandate will be to review and assess the state of services, infrastructure, processes and procedures of the electricity and telecommunications companies in Jamaica.

Wheatley said that after the task force is named, it would present a 'comprehensive' report in six months, aspects of which will be made public forming a basis for policy decisions and actions.

The examination of the state utilities in Jamaica comes ahead of the regional conference of the Organisation of Caribbean Utility Regulators in Jamaica from October 26-28.

David Geddes, executive director of the organisation, has told The Gleaner that issues to be covered by Jamaica's review will be on the agenda for the conference.