Another 100 persons from approximately 34 households in rural St. Elizabeth have joined the list of beneficiaries to access electricity through the Government’s Rural Electrification Programme (REP).
The most recent beneficiaries, who were officially connected on Wednesday (November 28), are from the community of Powell Town in Southfield.
Chairman of the REP, Rev. Garnett Roper, who addressed a ceremony held to mark the occasion, informed that another 12 communities will be added to the national grid within the next month.
“More than anything, we (at the REP) believe that we are expanding the frontier of national development,” he stated.
He said that the beneficiaries now have an added opportunity to make their contribution to the Gross National Product (GNP) of the country because they now have access to the electricity.
Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Hon. Phillip Paulwell, who was on hand, said that bringing electricity to all communities throughout Jamaica is part of the development process.
“We can’t speak about a knowledge-based economy if people do not have electricity. We cannot talk about logging on, and ICT (Information Communication Technology) if people cannot plug their computers into an electricity socket, and so as we have done in other parts of the country, we want to see development throughout Jamaica,” he stated.
Minister Paulwell urged the new beneficiaries to live up to their end of the bargain and accept the responsibility that comes with the service. He informed that “very shortly” a national campaign will be launched to target persons, who illegally connect to the electricity supply.
He pointed out that over 10 per cent of bill charges is for losses related to electricity theft.
Minister Paulwell also called for genuine effort to be made by all to conserve electricity whenever they can.
Meanwhile, President of the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS), Kelly Tomblin, gave a commitment that her company will continue to strive to be the kind of partner that is deserving of all its customers.
The REP was incorporated in 1975 with the specific mandate of expanding the reach of electricity supply to rural areas, where the provision of such services would not be economically viable for commercial providers of electricity. The REP constructs electrical distribution pole line in electrified areas and provides house wiring assistance through a loan programme to householders.
More than 75, 000 households have benefitted under the programme to date.