Illegal throw ups severely impact quality of electricity experienced by paying customers

Tell Claudienne

with Claudienne Edwards

Sunday, January 26, 2014    

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Dear Claudienne

My wife and I live in the Kingston 4 area, and over the past three years we have had a contract with the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) to supply electricity to our house. Over the period, four refrigerator motors at our house have burnt up and a component set and a microwave oven have also been destroyed. After the two motors on a new refrigerator burnt up, I asked an electrician to check the electricity supply. After he did the test he said that low voltage was the cause of the problem.

I reported the problem to the JPS office at Church Street downtown and when I got no help I made a complaint at the Ruthven Road JPS office. When I did not get any action I went to the head office in New Kingston and made a report. However, I still have the problem.

I must also point out that a man who was also living at another house on the same premises connected wires from his house to my electricity supply. When I enquired why he did this he told me that two households can get light from the same connection. He said that it would not cause a low voltage problem. After he vacated the house the JPS came and disconnected the light from it but left the live wire with current on the light post. I understand that about seven persons have been bridging light from this wire, and that this is the cause of the low voltage at my house.

Could you see what you can do to assist me.


Dear TB

We asked the JPS to investigate your complaint. The Head of the JPS Corporate Communications has replied to Tell Claudienne as follows:

"Thank you for forwarding TB's letter to us for attention. JPS has been dealing with the matter for some time now, and our representatives have been in direct contact with the customer since last year.

Our Customer Service Manager at the East Parade Office met with TB and his wife late last year, when they visited the office to complain of low voltage. Subsequent to that meeting, our technician visited the community, and removed several illegal lines that were the cause of the low voltage experienced by the customer. At the time, the customer confirmed that the problem had been corrected.

However, several weeks later, the customer reported a recurrence of the low voltage problem. Our team visited the location, and found several illegal lines connected to the power lines supplying the customer. These were again removed.

We sincerely regret the problems being experienced by this customer, which is as a direct result of the illegal activity in the community. While we will continue to remove the illegal lines and encourage other persons in the community to get legal power supply, we cannot guarantee that the problem will not recur due to the persistence of electricity theft in the community.

The theft of electricity continues to plague our operations, costing millions of dollars and severely compromising the quality of service to customers like TB. This socio-economic problem persists, despite our best efforts. Last year alone, JPS teams removed over 197,000 illegal lines, and the police arrested more than 1200 persons for electricity theft. This is a continuing battle that affects us all, and requires the concerted effort of everyone, including the media."

Please continue to work with the JPS to get a final resolution to your problem. Good luck.

Dear Claudienne

My mother purchased a chest of drawers from a woodwork company downtown Kingston. The final payment made on this item was made on May 6, 2013. The total cost was $35,000.

Some time after she got the furniture my mother and I determined that an insect was eating it. My mother has made numerous calls to the store owner to come and look at said furniture but up to now he has not done so.

It is my view that the furniture needs to be returned and her money refunded as the furniture is being eaten daily and is not going to serve for any period of time.

Kindly let me know what can be done. I had made contact with the Fair Trading Commission but I am not sure what they are doing and I really need this to be sorted out before the insects eat other items of furniture that are in the household.


Dear LG

Tell Claudienne spoke to the proprietor of the woodwork company and he promised to visit your mother's house and view the damage done by the termites to the chest of drawers.

Your mother told us that he viewed the damage done by the insects on Sunday, January 19. She said that he sprayed the furniture with a poison that he said would destroy the termites. She said that he promised to replace the chest of drawers if the poison did not eliminate the insects.

We also contacted the Consumer Affairs Commission (CAC). The CAC said that the discovery of the termites in the item of furniture was a breach of the Consumer Protection Act. Under the Act you are entitled to what you pay for. So where an item is discovered to be defective or different from what the business has described, you are within your rights to return the goods and demand a refund, the CAC said. You also have the right to accept an offer of compensation to the value of the goods or an amount agreed on between both of the parties signing the contract, the CAC said.

Good luck.

Have a problem with a store, utility, a company: telephone 936-9436 or write to: Tell Claudienne c/o Sunday Finance, Jamaica Observer, 40-42 1/2 Beechwood Avenue, Kingston 5; or e-mail: Please include a contact phone number.





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