Sat | Jul 21, 2018

Letter of the Day | JPS Negril blackouts worse than 50 years ago

Published:Monday | August 1, 2016 | 12:00 AM


This past weekend has been the famous Negril Dream Weekend. But for some of us, it has been the Nightmare Week!

I am a disabled resident of the far West End of Negril, Westmoreland, where I have lived for many years. Just past the Negril Lighthouse there is an area called Mount Pleasant, which contains many homes, tiny businesses and several hotels or resorts farther out along the coast.

In the last five or six days, we have experienced six power outages of several hours' duration each. Many, including at the time of writing this letter on July 29, have been during daylight hours. Thank goodness! Of course, I have no idea when the power will return after this current outage. One can only hope and pray that it will do so before the fall of darkness.

That is because Thursday night's outage - the fourth in as many days - occurred around 8:30 p.m., and power did not return until after midnight. A truly wonderful situation for a disabled person, tottering around in total darkness, holding a flashlight and attempting to light candles! Not to mention lighting and carrying oil lamps which, if dropped, could be disastrous.

On every single occasion of power loss, I have promptly reported the outages in detail to the Jamaica Public Service Company, and have been given the usual outage report number after "sorry for the inconvenience", and have also provided my contact phone number - always asked for, but never once used so far!

On contacting JPSCo further after Thursday's prolonged night-time outage, in a serious attempt to discover why these failures keep happening so frequently, I have been informed that it is due to "equipment failure".

Brilliant - I could have told them that!!

Given the fact that every 24-36 hours so for the last several days, there has been "equipment failure", would it not be reasonable to think that this equipment would be replaced rather than simply patched up to last for a few hours, only to crash again, causing total inconvenience time and time again to all customers in the area?

When I was a teenager in Kingston in the 1960s, we had power cuts - but nothing like this! And now it is 2016 - 50 years later! Have we progressed or gone backwards?

In the meantime, I have also been wondering about the initials JPSCo. Maybe they stand for Jamaica Primitive Service Co. Or maybe Just Poor Standards Co.