Sun | Sep 19, 2021

JPS addresses concerns about impending closure of branches

Published:Thursday | March 4, 2021 | 1:21 PM
The JPS says its decision to close the Portmore office was made after careful consideration and observation of the changing behaviour of customers. Over the past few years, customers have increased their use of online platforms to do regular transactions, the company stated.

The Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) says it continues to hold talks with persons who will be affected by the closure of seven of its branches.

JPS says these virtual meetings have been ongoing since January.

The light and power company notes that residents of Portmore have been particularly vocal in their objection to the company’s decision to close its office in the Portmore Mall.

This morning, scores of residents led by Mayor of Portmore Leon Thomas staged a protest in front of the location to register their disapproval with the impending closure.

READ: Portmore residents demonstrate against closure of JPS outlet

According to JPS, over the past few weeks, representatives have had dialogue with stakeholder groups in the community, including with Thomas, adding that another meeting is planned for this afternoon with Member of Parliament Fitz Jackson. 

In addressing the concerns of the residents of Portmore, Senior VP of Customer Services at JPS, Ramsay McDonald, said: “While we fully appreciate the concerns of the residents, our decision to close the office was made after careful consideration and observation of the changing behaviour of our customers. Over the past few years, customers have increased their use of online platforms to do regular transactions. This has led to a great reduction in visits to JPS’ offices, especially within the last year, with less than 5% of our customers in some parishes now coming in to do business with us in person.”

“In fact, about 2,500 customers in Portmore out of roughly 52,000 have been coming in to that office each month, mainly to get bill balances and pay bills. Customers visiting the office for bill payments can do so at even greater convenience at over 690 locations islandwide. Over 90% of our customers currently utilise non-JPS locations to make their payments,” he continued. 

“We appreciate, in particular, the concern of our senior customers, and we would like to assure them that we are still here for them,” McDonald added. 

The JPS senior executive says the company is taking steps to ensure that the needs of its customers are met through other service channels.

JPS says it has been phasing out face-to-face interactions in its customer service offices since September 2020.

Since then, all the company’s customer service offices are closed on Wednesdays and Thursdays, with customers still having full access to bill payment facilities.

The offices to be closed as of next Monday, March 8, are located in the parishes of St Catherine (Portmore), Clarendon, St Elizabeth, Westmoreland, St Mary, St Thomas, and Kingston (East Parade). 

The Bill Express payment facilities and the courtesy phones to call the JPS call centre will still be available in these offices up to April 1.

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