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Electricity thieves strike Maxfield Avenue again, frustrate JPS

Published:Thursday | September 8, 2016 | 12:48 AM
Kelly Tomblin, Jamaica Public Service Company president and CEO in deep thought.

Electricity thieves have struck once again in Maxfield Avenue, Kingston leaving sections of the community an darkness and frustrating the power provider, the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS).
JPS reported that exactly one month after it collaborated with the police and residents of Maxfield Avenue to keep street lights free of illegal connections and thereby functional, 34 or 40 per cent of the street lights in the area have stopped functioning due to multiple instances of electricity theft.
"The illegal abstraction of electricity has incurred significant costs for the company," the JPS  said in a release issued yesterday. "JPS has carried out repairs on 85 street lights, at a cost of US$17,000 or J$2.16 million - and already 34 no longer work, due to breaches. Additionally, the company pays US$5,000 to replace each burnt transformer. Three transformers have been destroyed in the last five weeks alone - due to power theft."
System strained
Street lights, it said, are not designed to provide domestic power supply to homes for their electrical appliances \m such as refrigerators and televisions. They are therefore being destroyed due to the strain of persistent overloading.
Last month, JPS and the police met with residents of the Maxfield community and local leadership, "to hammer out the way forward, given the continued breaches of the street lights and the resultant malfunctioning of these structures. At the meeting, residents committed to stop connecting illegally to the street lights as their actions are putting their community at risk. They also committed to holding each other accountable, so as to clamp down on the practice."
The company is once again imploring residents of the community to desist from stealing from the street lights. Residents may make contact with the Customer Service Office nearest them at East Parade in downtown Kingston, to start the process of regularisation. "JPS owes it to its paying customers to eliminate the illegal use of electricity, to create a fair and level field for all," JPS said.