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OUR issues further cease and desist to JPS on transformer pilot project

Published:Tuesday | January 25, 2022 | 3:59 PM
The directive to JPS took effect on January 18 and will expire within 180 days. -File photo.

The Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) says it has issued a further directive to the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) to cease and desist from the curtailment of electricity to communities where it has implemented its Transformer Protection Programme pilot project.

This latest directive took effect on January 18 and will expire within 180 days.

The OUR says the move follows the expiration of the original Cease and Desist Order on January 13, which was in effect for 90 days to allow it to conduct its investigation and publish its findings regarding JPS's activities under this pilot project.

It says it has not been able to complete its investigations as JPS has not complied with a request for data and other information that is critical to the regulator's examination of the issues.

Therefore, additional time is required for the OUR  to complete the investigation and publish its findings.

The utility regulator says it has instructed JPS to maintain the suspension of its Transformer Protection Programme pilot project that curtailed electricity services in the affected communities.

JPS is also prohibited from taking similar actions in any other community across the island as outlined in the first directive issued to the company on October 15, 2021.

The OUR's decision to first issue a Cease and Desist Order followed consumer complaints since  July 2021about prolonged power outages in several communities, with reports of many occurring daily.

The OUR says it wrote to the JPS requesting information as part of its investigation into the complaints.

On October 4, 202, JPS responded apprising the OUR for the first time of the implementation of its Transformer Protection Programme pilot project.

The OUR says the response also gave an indication of the nature and extent of the curtailment of service that significantly affected JPS's paying customers in approximately 88 communities.

The information suggested that the outages were more widespread in sections of St Catherine, Kingston and St Andrew South, Kingston and St Andrew North, Clarendon and St James.

The regulator says it is against all forms of electricity theft which affects the provision of economical and adequate electricity services.

The OUR says it is also mindful of JPS's obligations to take steps to ensure the reliability, adequacy, safety and efficiency of the service that it provides to the public.

It says it has not approved any policy or measure that would see the use of outages, imposed on legitimate customers, as a means of controlling electricity losses.

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