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JPS reduces service to communities with high levels of theft, says it has tried everything

Published:Monday | May 12, 2014 | 2:02 PM

KINGSTON, Jamaica:

The Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) has announced that it will be cutting the number of hours that power is provided to communities where more than 70 per cent of the electricity is stolen.




In a release a short while ago, JPS said the move is part of its strategy to get more persons to pay for the electricity they use, and reduce the overall cost to paying customers.



The JPS says the communities to be affected in the initial phase of this curtailment strategy are:



Jones Town

Seaward Drive

Trench Town

Denham Town

Rema

Maxfield Avenue

Central Village

Spanish Town Road




A JPS spokesperson said the company has been working with these communities for some time, with limited success, and continues to encourage illegal users to take immediate steps to have their service regularised.



"We have tried everything to reduce electricity theft," explained Gary Barrow, JPS’ Senior VP for Energy Delivery.



"Our efforts have included a combination of initiatives, such as the removal of illegal ‘throw up’ lines, account audits and meter investigations, arrests in collaboration with the police, community intervention and the installation of costly technology solutions," he said.



The company has indicated that, in recognition of its obligation to serve paying customers in the affected communities, it will make an effort to provide electricity for not less than 12 hours per day, and will remain sensitive to the safety concerns of the residents.



The JPS also says it is making every effort to minimize the impact on the businesses, hospitals, and schools in the affected communities.



The Company says it has more than 200 employees working to reduce losses



JPS has reported that in 2013, it removed more than 197,000 illegal lines, carried out more than 113,000 account audits and meter investigations, and facilitated the arrest of more than 1200 persons for theft of electricity.



The company reports that it has installed more than 7,600 Residential Automated Metering Infrastructure meters, but most of the potential customers targeted have not signed up for legal service.



Meanwhile, JPS has indicated that its efforts to serve paying customers in communities with high levels of theft continue to be hampered by extensive damage to its equipment, and ongoing power outages caused by illegal connections.



It says customers have also suffered significant damage to their appliances and equipment as a result of the system overload caused by illegal connections.



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