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Blackout - Widespread outage leaves thousands in the dark

Published:Sunday | April 17, 2016 | 12:00 AMJovan Johnson
Winsome Callum

Up to late last night, the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) was yet to determine what caused a "fairly widespread" power outage that left tens of thousands in darkness.

Reports of the outage began to emerge shortly after seven o'clock from Manchester, Hanover, St Mary, Kingston, St Andrew, Portland, St Catherine, Trelawny, St James, Clarendon, and Westmoreland.

The JPS issued a statement almost an hour later, from its Twitter account, advising that "the problem seems to be fairly widespread as customers in several parishes have been affected".

It added: "We are not able at this point to say what caused the problem or how soon we'll have everybody back on, but power has already been restored to some areas."

Winsome Callum, director, corporate communications at JPS, later explained that "a number of generating units went offline simultaneously, resulting in a fairly widespread outage affecting customers in several parishes.

"We are not able at this point to say what caused the units to go offline or how soon we'll have everyone back," she added.

Callum explained that the restoration "could take a while because of the pretty involved process of ramping up units before energising the lines".

Meanwhile, Energy Minister Dr Andrew Wheatley said he had been in contact with the Kelly Tomblin, president and chief executive of JPS, about the situation.

"I'm sure that I will be getting a report on the matter," Wheatley told The Gleaner.

Last month, the light and power company advised that customers could experience outages between April and May as the company moves to convert its operations at the Bogue power station in St James to natural gas.