Barbara Gayle, Justice Coordinator
Several residents of Stony Hill, St Andrew, are alleging that they suffered more damage from the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) than from Hurricane Sandy.
According to the resident, because of "massive power surges," they have been left with bills totalling millions of dollars to replace appliances which were damaged shortly after electricity was restored in their area in October last year.
In response to the complaints from the residents, the JPS wrote a letter on January 16 stating that while it regretted their losses it was unable to accept liability.
The affected residents of Gibson Road, Stony Hill, are calling on the Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Phillip Paulwell, to intervene in the matter.
Edward Charles Hanna, one of the residents who owns several apartments on Gibson Road, said they have suffered great inconvenience and injustice as a result of the damages to their appliances.
Hanna had written to the JPS on November 15, 2012 complaining that the passing of Hurricane Sandy on October 24, 2012 triggered power outages for an extended period in the Stony Hill area.
He pointed out that the power outages caused a great deal of damage but what was even more disturbing was the massive power surges.
According to Hanna, electricity was restored between October 28 and 30 last year "with an extremely high voltage of 240 plus".
He said in the letter from the JPS residents were told that the high voltage was due to the disconnection of a neutral wire at the entrance of Sun Ridge on Gibson Road.
The power was then disconnected and reconnected on October 31 still on a voltage of 240 plus.
Hanna said the high voltage was not corrected until November 2 when a resident of Gibson Road stopped a JPS truck at the intersection of Long Lane and Hermitage Dam Road and requested the assistance of the crew.
After waiting over an hour for a supervisor, she was then able to show where the neutral wire on Gibson Road was disconnected.
Hanna claimed that the supervisor was actually surprised that it had not yet been connected.
On January 16 Dawn Graham, manager of the claims and insurance department of JPS, wrote a letter to Hanna informing him that the company had conducted a thorough investigation into the circumstances of the claim.
She said the results did not show any negligence on the part of the JPS, its agents or its employees in the service offered.
Graham stated that in "the present case, the damage to JPS system by Hurricane Sandy, an Act Of God , adversely affected the company's supply of electricity to its customers".
She said all reasonable efforts were taken by the company to minimise or prevent system interruptions during the restoration exercise.
"Unfortunately, the condition that resulted after the restoration of supply on October 28, 2012 could not have been predicted prior to restoration.
"Consequently, while regretting your loss and any attendant inconvenience, the company is unable to accept liability and cannot offer any compensation in respect of your claim."
However, Hanna and the other residents are not happy with the response and are seeking assistance for the JPS to be held responsible.