Since the start of 2012, the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) has lost more than US$30 million as a result of electricity theft. This, as the company continues to absorb the cost of the fuel used to produce much of the electricity that is illegally abstracted.
"About 14 per cent of the electricity produced by JPS is stolen, and the cost of this theft is shared by both JPS and our customers," says Kelly Tomblin, JPS president and CEO. "In addition to the financial losses associated with electricity theft, JPS is spending another US$30 million each year on efforts to curtail the problem. Despite this investment and the dedication of more than 200 employees to fighting losses, the problem persists," she said.
JPS has utilised a number of strategies in its fight against electricity theft. These include the installation of anti-theft systems in communities with high levels of losses, account audits, investigations, removal of illegal lines, and supporting the police. Since the start of the year, 38 persons have been arrested for illegal abstraction of electricity, more than 5,700 meter irregularities have been discovered, and 14,000 illegal 'throw-up' lines removed across the island.
"We continue to explore additional ways of dealing with this problem, as persons are getting more and more innovative in their illegal use of electricity. JPS needs the support of everyone - the Government, customers, the police, and community leaders to address this problem because it affects every sector of society," the JPS CEO explained.