Sun | Sep 20, 2020

OUR to step in on IPL, JPS dispute

Published:Friday | August 14, 2020 | 12:18 AMRobert Bailey/Gleaner Writer
The National Stadium (foreground) and Stadium East are seen here in an aerial shot taken during the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletics Championships on Saturday, March 30, 2019.
The National Stadium (foreground) and Stadium East are seen here in an aerial shot taken during the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletics Championships on Saturday, March 30, 2019.

The Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) is expected to today meet with officials from Independence Park Limited (IPL) to offer advice on a dispute involving the Jamaica Public Service (JPS).

The meeting is a crucial step in helping to determine which entity is responsible for two blown transformers at the National Stadium complex.

There has been a major disagreement between IPL and the JPS over liability for the explosion of the two transformers, which has left the IPL without power for over two months.

IPL General Manager Major Desmon Brown told The Gleaner that after failed discussions with the lighting company regarding the repairing of the transformers, they brought the matter before the OUR, which will be advising his organisation on any potential action against JPS.

“We will be meeting with the OUR, and they will give us a response by Friday (today) as to what actions can be taken (against JPS) and when their engineers are going to come and inspect the place and all of that,” said Brown.

“They (the OUR) will investigate, and what they have told me is that if they find that what we say is true, then we will have to go to court because they (the OUR) don’t have any authority to instruct JPS to pay us,” Brown said. “After their investigations, and if they agree with what we are saying, [we] will have to go to court,” he said.

IPL has served the JPS with a claim for $15 million to repair the blown transformers, which are located at the stadium complex. JPS has denied IPL’s claim that it is liable for the damage caused to the transformers.

IPL manages the National Stadium complex, which includes the National Aquatic Centre, basketball courts, the Leila Robinson Courts, the National Arena, and the National Indoor Sports Centre.

Brown noted that it is now costing IPL millions of dollars to operate a generator, which the body now uses to light up its administration spaces at the complex.

TOWER LIGHTS DOWN

“There are no tower lights, and so we are running the administration building off of a generator because the tower lights cannot operate,” said Brown. “This has taken too long to resolve, but it is a process, and JPS has denied that they [caused] the problem, and so we have to go through the process.”

“I can’t give you a figure as it relates to the amount of money, but it is costing us a lot to run these generators,” he added.

As more and more sporting associations resume competitive action after COVID-19 forced suspensions, the dispute has cast doubt on the venue’s ability to host events.

robert.bailey@gleanerjm.com