Wed | Oct 18, 2017

$3 million a month ... Caymanas Park lowers light bill in effort against illegal connections

Published:Monday | February 20, 2017 | 12:00 AMLivingston Scott
Omar Walker, aboard Seeking My Dream, winning the second running of the Diamond Mile at Caymanas Park recently.
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Jason McKay, CEO of McKay Security, says the electricity bill at Caymanas Park has been lowered by more than $4 million over the last few years, helped largely by a continued effort to control illegal connections from neighbouring communities to the plant's power source.

McKay Security, the racetrack's security firm, has worked closely with the police in conducting regular raids on the illegal connections since 2011. He says the horse racing facility has seen great improvement in its energy costs since then.

In 2014, CTL's bill was reported to be over $8 million, and that was improved to $6.7 million by February 2015. The expense was further reduced to $4.2 million by March of that same year, but since the officials started morning checks for illegal connections and persecuting the offenders, the trend has droped drastically.

 

LOOKING GOOD

 

"It's (electricity bill) running at approximately 25 per cent of what it was at it's highest level, so things are looking good. We are sure as of this morning that there are no illegal connections. We do a morning inspection because it's usually nights that they do it, so early morning, we do a sweep and look for it," said McKay.

"Now, we arrest them when they do it. We take them into custody and charge them, so they have to get bail and all of that, Once that was brought to the table, it toned down," McKay noted

The security chief informed that there was a flare-up of illegal connection activity during the recent staging of the Diamond Mile, but shared that the quick reaction from the security mechanism corrected the problem, while noting that things have returned to normal since.

"There was not really a spike, but we got information that they (illegal lines) were back up and we went for them. Because of the excitement of the Diamond Mile, they thought they could do it and we wouldn't see, but we managed to keep that in check," he said.

McKay said they have seen the result from the first time they raided in 2011 and they have maintained a strong presence since.

"The decrease started about two years ago when we started arresting them. Recently, it has been stable and it (bill) has not passed three million in most cases," McKay said before noting that they have been receiving greater co-operation from members of the neighbouring communities, which have for years, been at the centre of the issue.

The divestment of Caymanas Park was recently made official by the signing of documents between the Government of Jamaica and new owners Supreme Ventures Limited after lengthy discussions. The actual handing over of the track will take place on March 7, 2017.