JIS News

The Jamaica Public Service Company (JPSCo), has commenced damage assessment in the aftermath of Hurricane Ivan.
Dispatched some 12 hours ago in all parishes, JPSCo’s emergency teams have been systematically assessing the damage to all equipment, transmission and distribution lines.
“This is a very critical phase in the assessment process. We must assess the damage before we can energise anything at all,” Winsome Callum, Corporate Communications Manager at the JPSCo told JIS News.
It is expected that the process will be completed in 24 to 48 hours. Once completed, Miss Callum said the restoration process would commence. This, she said, would entail putting power lines back in place and replanting utility poles before re-energizing the lines.
In the meantime, Miss Callum said the JPSCo would endeavour to energise circuits wherever possible. However, of paramount importance would be hospitals and support services, mortuaries, police and fire stations, water facilities and communication systems. “Once these are out of the way, we will gradually start restoring power to the commercial and residential customers,” she said.
The entire evaluation and restoration process, Miss Callum noted, would “take some time” and therefore the JPSCo could not predict the duration of the inconvenience. In the meantime, the JPSCo is appealing to customers for their patience and understanding and is also asking them to monitor the media for updates.
Miss Callum is also urging customers not to venture near downed power lines, as they could contain electricity. “It is very dangerous to touch or to move them,” she said.
Highlighting safety measures, she warned persons operating standby generators to unplug them from wall outlets and breaker panels. “You can operate them without plugging them into wall outlets,” she said.
Persons can connect appliances to the generator or use extension cords to get the electricity to the appliances. “We cannot emphasize too much how important it is for you to unplug your standby generator from the wall outlet,” she said.
As a consequence of not heeding the warning, generators can explode when JPSCo commences energizing its lines. Additionally, the generators can create a situation of back-feed onto the JPSCo lines and this can put the company’s workers at risk.
“Be careful also when you are refuelling your generators. Try to turn them off and make sure you know how to operate them because, as we go through this period, safety is our greatest priority,” she stressed.
The JPSCo suspended electricity supply on Friday, September 10 to protect the system from hurricane damage.

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