JPS declares hurricane readiness; upgrading street lights
The island's sole distributor of electricity, the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) has signalled its readiness to face the ongoing 2018 Atlantic hurricane season, declaring that it has a robust disaster preparedness programme.
Speaking with journalists last week during a press briefing at its head office in St Andrew, Ramsay McDonald, senior vice-president of customer service, said that the preparations began back in March and were continuous.
"We had a whole day when we conducted our simulations and we've done a number of vegetation controls whereby we have been removing and clearing bush from the (power) lines and getting ourselves prepared for the season ahead," said McDonald.
The forecast from the Meteorological Service of Jamaica suggested that the season, which runs from June 1 to November 30, would be above average.
"Also, starting this month, on a number of our radio stations and television, we will be having the programme that JPS airs speak to how to prepare for the hurricane season. Obviously, the impact of any disaster is grave and we need to ensure that we're fully equipped and prepared," he added.
LED street lights
In addition, the light and power company has also announced plans to install an additional 5,000 LED street lights across Jamaica by the end of this year and to have 50,000 installed by next year, out of the total 105,000 it intends to install.
Emanuel DaRosa, the company's president and chief executive officer, made the disclosure while addressing the recent Jamaica Investment Forum 2018 at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in Rose Hall.
"At the end of this year, we'll have rolled out 40,000 LED street lights in Jamaica ... . That's a programme we've been working on for about two years here. We're only installing about 5,000 lights this year, but next year we're hoping to ramp that up to as much as 50,000 lights [in total]," said DaRosa.
These new lights have all sorts of new capabilities. They can dim themselves, they tell you when they have burned out so people don't have to report them, and you can put all sorts of sensors on them like gunshot detectors," DaRosa continued. "There's a whole plethora of technology being incorporated into the street lights to enhance people's lives."
"We're [also] converting the street lights in the country to LED; and with that we're seeing energy-efficiency improvements of 55 per cent. Also, when you look at our customers who are on a 'pay-as-you-go' plan, we see that there's a 30 per cent reduction in their energy consumption," said DaRosa.