The Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) will be investing some US$295 million over the next four years in order to modernise and make more efficient, its operations.
Speaking at a press conference at the company’s headquarters in Kingston on January 13, President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Damian Obiglio, said this investment will enable the company to improve on and install new systems to reduce interruptions. He said that these improvements could, over time, reduce the cost of electricity to customers.
“We want to reduce emergency calls by five per cent… we need to work on the different lines, change poles, clean the lines, and change breakers and insulators etc” he stated.
Mr. Obiglio said reducing system interruptions, improving generation and transmission reliability, are critical steps to improving service and will be achieved through the use of new technology that will allow the company to detect and respond more speedily to power outages.
In the meantime, he informed that methods have been implemented to curb the losses sustained by the company each year from illegal connections. “We estimate that we have 133,000 illegal users of electricity,” he said.
He noted however that more users are becoming regularised, noting that losses have been reduced from 12 to 10 per cent, and through the implementation of intelligent meters in communities and businesses, the light and power company has been able to detect immediately, when there is a breach of the system.
In the meantime, as world oil prices continue to soar, the JPS President and CEO is encouraging customers to conserve on electricity.
“The price of oil affects the customers every month. It is something that is very bad not only for Jamaica but for any country that depends on oil for power generation the best advice we can give, is to conserve,” he said.
He noted that Jamaicans are becoming more conscientious about electricity use, noting that consumption per household was reduced from 170 kilowatts per hour (kwh) per month in 2008 to 164 kwh in 2009. In 2010, the number went up slightly to 171 kwh per household per month.
JPS currently generates 68 per cent of the electricity power in Jamaica.
CONTACT: CHRIS PATTERSON