JIS News

President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Jamaica Public Service (JPS), Damian Obligio, has said that islandwide assessment of the damage sustained by its power generation and distribution infrastructure is complete.
At the same time, however, he stressed “our company prioritizes safety over fast restoration of service”.
Speaking in a wide-ranging, exclusive JIS interview, Mr. Obligio said that, “our meter readers are currently out in the field performing the dual functions of assessing the installation state of customer premises for reconnection as well as taking meter readings”.
He said the installation assessments are necessary because, “electricity is an essential but serious and dangerous good, and connecting lines that have not been thoroughly inspected may cause fires, electrocution and irreparable damage”.
“No fires have been reported so far,” he pointed out, “because we have been extremely careful, but there are places where traffic lights are working due to some persons retrofitting our lines, or where generators have been installed by uncertified individuals, who have tampered with public safety”.
Next to safety, restoration of service to customers remains high on the priority list of the national light and power provider.
“The crews have been working round-the-clock on the network and the only time they have stopped was due to poor visibility at night and related security concerns,” Mr. Obligio stated. Continuing he said, “we were fully prepared, even though Hurricane Dean did more damage to our transmission lines than Ivan.”
“All the materials were available for the repairs and there was no need to bring in help from outside to the extent that within 48 hours after the hurricane’s passage all our power plants were up and running,” he told JIS News.
Outlining the process by which service is gradually being restored, Mr. Obligio told JIS News that, “since Monday, our first priority has been emergency services, so those customers in the vicinity of hospitals, police stations and so on would have had their service restored where the state of transmission lines made this possible”.
He added, “all major hospitals along the north of the island and around the corporate area have had service restored as well as the industrial belt from Hunt’s Bay to Rockfort as far as the (Carib) Cement Company, (and) communities along the north coast and in parts of Eastern Kingston”.
Clarendon, Manchester, St. Elizabeth, St. Mary and Portland are the parishes with the greatest damage, said Mr. Obligio, adding that “a significant number of customers in Clarendon, Manchester and St. Elizabeth will be out of service for several days longer, especially in the Lacovia/Magotty, Treasure Beach, Portland Cottage and the Monymusk communities.” He indicated that communities in the vicinity of Goodyear in St. Thomas may have a long waiting time.

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