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Story Highlights

  • Work is underway on the re-wiring of houses and installation of several streetlights in McGregor Gardens, Kingston, as the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) moves to regularize electricity in the area.
  • This is being done through the ‘Project Step Up,’ which is a $30 million partnership between the JPS and the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF).
  • The JPS will also train representatives of JSIF, and community facilitators hired to conduct energy audits and specific customer service procedures, as well as establish contact centres in the communities.

Work is underway on the re-wiring of houses and installation of several streetlights in McGregor Gardens, Kingston, as the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) moves to regularize electricity in the area.

This is being done through the ‘Project Step Up,’ which is a $30 million partnership between the JPS and the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF).

It aims to tackle the problem of electricity theft by financing the delivery of infrastructure, services, and civil works in seven inner-city communities in Kingston and St. Andrew, for the provision of legal electricity connections.

Speaking to JIS News following a tour of the area today (December 2), Minister of State in the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Hon. Julian Robinson, hailed the project, which is improving the electricity infrastructure in McGregor Gardens. He noted that 100 homes will be re-wired and 15 streetlights installed.

Those homes, he said, will be provided with pre-paid meters, and the streetlights will be outfitted with LED bulbs. “That will reduce the consumption and also deal with a number of streetlights, which have become defective. So it will brighten the community and make it safer for residents as well,” he informed.

He informed that personnel from JPS have established an office in the area to assist in the selection process for the re-wiring.

In the meantime, Mr. Robinson reminded residents to engage in conservation methods as part of efforts to reduce their light bills.

For his part, Regional Director, JPS, Omar Sweeny, informed that erection of the poles has been completed, and streetlights are currently being installed.

He informed that representatives from United States Agency for International Development (USAID), who were also present during the tour, are exploring the possibility of partnering on the initiative. Mr. Sweeny said work in the other communities will begin in early 2015.

President, Youth With Vision Community Club, Ramon Reid, said infrastructure development is crucial to any community. He said most persons have expressed a desire to become regularized.

The Project Step Up, which is being piloted over a period of 12 months, will also benefit residents of 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 to conduct 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.

 

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