Christopher Bodden, Gleaner Writer
Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) Hanover Parish Manager, Antoinette Burton-Steer, has blamed the recent torrential rainfall for the spate of frequent power outages in the parish.
"We have been experiencing a lot of heavy rainfall, and this past weekend alone, we lost four poles, and today we lost another. Two poles and the power lines were taken down in the Cessnock area by a tree," she said.
"Because the land is hilly terrain and has become saturated, there have been land slippages that have caused trees to fall on power lines. This has become a concern over the past week, and even just now, we received a call that a tree had fallen over and downed someone's service wire in the Mount Pelier area," she added.
Burton-Steer said the trees that fell were outside of the bushing area and so would not normally be a threat to the power lines. She said another factor affecting power supply was the increased lightning activity, which has also taken down some lines.
"We have been having a lot of maintenance and corrective work and then the rectifying of the problem thereafter," she said.
Buron-Steer said vegetation management was also an ongoing process and that there were two contractors currently working: one in the Cascade, Jericho, and Retrieve areas; another in the Negril area; with a third contractor slated to commence in the coming week.
When Western Focus spoke with councillor of the Lucea Division of the Hanover Parish Council, Neville Clare, he ridiculed the parish manager's statements.
"I can't understand JPS!" he said. "That is a flimsy excuse to say trees are downing power lines, so that's why we are having outages. Furthermore, it is their job to trim the trees. What is happening is that many of the power lines need to be cleaned in a lot of the places because bushes and parasitic plants are growing on many of them and causing a problem.
"I don't know of any trees being brought down. And if trees were brought down, we would know about it because the Hanover Parish Council and the National Works Agency would have to know because it would be our responsibility to remove them. So that's a stupid argument!" Clare added.