JPS to roll out mobile application by September

Pumps another US$5m in smart meters

Saturday, February 06, 2016

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In a bid to improve its service to consumers, Jamaica’s light and power company JPS will be rolling out a new mobile application by September.

Concurrently, the Jamaica Public Service (JPS) will be investing US$5 million for the implementation of 25,000 smart meters this year aimed at empowering consumers with real-time monitoring of energy conservations, demand and consumption patterns, energy cost, remote control for connections and disconnections, among others. This will bring to total 90,000 smart meters across the island in the past four years.


Last year, the company estimated that it would spend US$40 million over five years to roll out a smart grid and cut line losses after reporting US$18 million in losses from electricity thefts.


Senior vice-president of energy delivery, Gary Barrow, at a press briefing held at the company’s headquarters in New Kingston last Friday, stated that the installation of the smart meters forms a foundation for the launch of the mobile application.


"This meter is actually a full-fledged computer with a very powerful micro processor having communication capabilities and memory. It is more advanced than computers were probably five years ago," he said, adding that the mobile app will allow customers to receive instant notification of outages, estimate of time restoration, bill enquiries, bill payments and general advisories.


According to Barrow, estimates are that 85 per cent of the world’s population will own a smartphone by 2030, with an expectation that by 2020, billions will be connected to the Internet.


‘So your refrigerators, air conditioners, among other electronics will actually be connected to the Internet through your wi-fi mechanism. So conceivably, in a very short time you will have an application on your phone and you will be able to control your home through your smartphone," Barrow said.


He added that the company will be developing a model smart-home at its office later this year, after successfully executing smart networks in Jacks Hill.


So far, JPS has managed to reduce the frequency of its outages by 30.3 per cent through its smart technology, and 11 per cent decline in the average duration of outages.


The roll-out of the smart meters and mobile application adds to achievements of the utility provider over 2015, including the launch of the Bogue Conversion Project which will see the power plant converted to use liquefied natural gas (LNG), improvements in the reliability of power supply and consistent passing on of savings to customers from the drop in cost of fuel on the world market.


Electricity rates are currently among the lowest in more than five years.



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