- The Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) and Jamaica Public Service (JPS) are collaborating on a $30 million project to regularize electricity in seven inner-city communities in Kingston and St. Andrew.
- Under the initiative, homes will be re-wired and legally connected to JPS’ main supply.
- The project is a recognition that the problem of electricity theft not only requires a technical solution, but also a social intervention.
The Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) and Jamaica Public Service (JPS) are collaborating on a $30 million project to regularize electricity in seven inner-city communities in Kingston and St. Andrew.
Project Step Up was launched today (November 18), following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) by Managing Director, JSIF, Scarlette Gillings, and JPS President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Kelly Tomblin, at the University of the West Indies’ (UWI) Mona campus.
It aims to tackle the problem of electricity theft by financing the delivery of infrastructure, services, and civil works in the seven targeted communities for the provision of legal electricity connections.
Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, in her address at the launch, said the initiative is geared at not only increasing JPS’ compliance rate, but also improving the lives of community members.
“I want people, who are less fortunate, not only to be able to access electricity, but to ‘step up inna life’. That woman, who can do nails and hair and the young man, who can do barbering (by accessing electricity) can create their own jobs,” she stated.
Mrs. Simpson Miller said the task of curbing electricity theft is not just a corporate or government responsibility, but the job of all Jamaicans.
“It is a national responsibility. All of us should recognise that we are all shareholders in JPS, so when we are stealing from JPS, we are stealing from ourselves,” she pointed out.
Project Step Up, which is being piloted over a period of 12 months, will benefit residents of McGregor Gardens; Denham Town; Tower Hill; Arnett Gardens; Whitfield Town; Payne Land; and Majesty Gardens.
Under the initiative, homes will be re-wired and legally connected to JPS’ main supply. Residents will also be provided with budget billing and pre-paid metering options as well as energy efficient light bulbs and refrigerator gaskets to help with their conservation efforts.
The JPS will also train representatives of JSIF and community facilitators hired under the initiative in conducting energy audits and specific customer service procedures, as well as establish contact centres in the communities. The HEART Trust/NTA will provide skills training for residents.
On the part of the JSIF, the agency will manage the wiring of the houses and associated infrastructure in the communities; and the skills training and public education programmes. The agency will also recruit and manage community facilitators, who will assist in various aspects of the community initiative, as well as oversee the distribution of light bulbs and refrigerator gaskets.
State Minister for Science, Technology, Energy and Mining and Chairman of the Electricity Regularisation Task Force, Hon. Julian Robinson, said the project is a recognition that the problem of electricity theft not only requires a technical solution, but also a social intervention.
Member of Parliament for West Kingston, Desmond McKenzie, who spoke on behalf of the Leader of the Opposition, said he was in full support of the initiative.