Fri | Oct 20, 2017

UPDATED: Union talks breakdown over outsourcing of JPS meter reading services

Published:Saturday | March 25, 2017 | 10:32 AM

The Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) says it will be seeking to absorb some of the meter readers who will be affected as it moves to outsource the services to a third party provider.

At the same time, the JPS says it will seek to ensure that other affected meter readers are given an opportunity in recruitment interviews by the third  party provider.

"The Company recognises that there will not be adequate positions for the deployment of all meter readers within the organisation," the JPS said in an internal communication, a copy of which has been obtained by The Gleaner.

The outsourcing of Meter Reading is scheduled to begin on a phased basis, as of May 1, 2017.

The announcement comes after talks with the union representing meter readers, the National Workers Union, broke down after six months of negotiations.

Meanwhile, the JPS says all its meter readers have been given field services training to facilitate their redeployment into field services parish operations and major accounts.

It says a few have been given lineman training to fill positions in that area of its operation.

The JPS also says it has started rolling out its smart grid and will begin installing smart meters for residential and commercial customers.

The company says this will reduce the need for manual meter readers, as meters will now be read and disconnected remotely as more customers opt for the JPS Pay-As-You-Go or prepaid meters.

NOTE: An earlier version of this story had said the JPS would seek to absorb all its meter readers who will be affected by the outsourcing of the service to a third party. That was not correct. In fact, the JPS says it will be able to absorb some of them in different areas but will seek to ensure others are given the opportunity to be interviewed by its third party provider.