Kingston leading parishes in light theft
Edmond Campbell, Senior Staff Reporter
KINGSTON, THE nation's capital, spanning 21.8 square kilometres and with a population of little more than 89,000, sticks out like a sore thumb when it comes to electricity theft.
Twenty-five per cent of the total megawatt-hours of power lost by the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) to illegal activities has been blamed on the smallest parish.
The JPS is reporting that in Kingston alone, the company has lost between 13,425MWh and 15,915MWh of electricity to illegal abstraction over a one-month period. This means that the company has lost up to 16,000 MWh hours in Kingston, which at the present cost of electricity billed to customers would convert to some $613.4 million.
St Andrew is also showing some alarming numbers in terms of total MWh of electricity purloined from the national grid. Of the total MWh of power stolen from the company, St Andrew accounts for 10 per cent.
A large percentage of the illegal activity the light and power company is up in arms about is concentrated in tough inner-city communities where so-called 'throw-ups' have become a way of life for many residents.
In a full-page advertisement published in this newspaper yesterday, the JPS pointed to the extent of electricity theft across Jamaica, describing it as "an all-island problem".
In the neighbouring parish of St Catherine, the JPS says electricity thieves are responsible for 21 per cent, or between 5,368kWh and 14,425kWh of the power lost to illegal abstraction.
On the other hand, Portland, with a population of 81,744, is the parish with the lowest incidence of electricity theft, according to the JPS. The company says only one per cent of the total MWh of power lost by the JPS is attributable to Portland. This means that between 492MWh and 1,399MWh of electricity has been illegally extracted in the eastern parish.
PHASE TWO LAUNCH TODAY
Meanwhile, the JPS will today launch Phase Two of its drive to reduce the illegal use of electricity, by some consumers in sections of Olympic Gardens and surrounding areas.
The company listed several roads and areas that will be transferred to the Residential Advanced Metering Infrastructure (RAMI). They include Lindene Drive, Wint Road, Relay Road, McKinley Road, Australia Road, Holt Road, Binns Road, Collies Road, Cricket Crescent, Bay Farm Villa, Rhoden Road, Scarlett Road, Ray Street, as well as sections of Olympic Way and Bay Farm Road.
The installation of the RAMI network is just one of several anti-theft measures that the company has been implementing. Other efforts to reduce illegal abstraction of electricity include operations to remove throw-ups, meter inspections, and account audits.
Electricity theft by parish
Westmoreland - 6%
Hanover - 2%
St James - 8%
St Elizabeth - 4%
Trelawny - 2%
Manchester - 4%
St Ann - 5%
Clarendon - 8%
St Mary - 2%
St Thomas - 2%