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Utility companies to be examined by gov't organised task force

Published:Tuesday | September 6, 2016 | 9:30 AM
Technology Minister, Dr Andrew Wheatley says these major utility outages cannot be allowed to continue unchecked and so the task force will look into the root causes of these problems.

Technology Minister, Dr Andrew Wheatley is to set-up a task force to examine the state of utilities in Jamaica following recent mass failures involving the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) and telecommunications company FLOW.

Hundreds of FLOW customers were left without telephone and Internet services over the weekend due to what the company said was a technical fault.

A week earlier, an islandwide power blackout left people without electricity for up to four hours as a result of what the JPS said was a human error which caused all its network to go offline at the same time because its protection mechanism failed.

Dr Wheatley says these major utility outages cannot be allowed to continue unchecked and so the task force will look into the root causes of these problems.

The technology minister says the body will comprise representatives of his ministry, regulatory interests, academia and consumers.

According to the minister, the primary mandate of the task force will be to review and assess the state of services, infrastructure, processes and procedures of the Electricity and Telecommunications companies in Jamaica.

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