It was not our intention to offend anyone — JPS

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It was not our intention to offend anyone — JPS

Saturday, July 11, 2020

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Light and power utility Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) has apologised for what a company executive described as a breaking down of its relationship with the public, but did not back down from admission by the company that it inflates bills of legitimate customers to compensate for electricity theft.

“If we have offended anyone, it was not our intention,” senior vice-president for customer services Ramsay McDonald told reporters at the scene this morning of a public protest at the company's New Kingston head office.

“We're sorry that our relationship has broken down in this way. [It was] not our intention. But I'm certain that some misunderstanding has happened along the way. And I simply say to them (protestors), feel free to reach out to any of us. I know I've been in dialogue with them, and we are willing to listen, and we're willing to deal with the situations that exist as best as possible,” he added.

A handful of people bearing placards and chanting various anti-JPS sentiments started gathering in front of the JPS building from about 8 o' clock this morning. Company executives later invited them onto its compound.

“First of all, I'd like to say that JPS, we care about our customers,” McDonald said. “We understand the burden and the pain that they're feeling and we're working as best as possible to give them to support in very difficult and trying times.”

He argued that the Government and the public at large have roles to play in fighting electricity theft, and urged the public to help by swapping out incandescent light bulbs for LED ones, and reporting people known to be illegally connected to the grid.

“Let's not lose sight of what this is all about; it's about a crime; it's about electricity theft. And in order for us to address this, this scourge upon our nation, we need to work together as a team. All of us need to be involved.

“The protesters are simply voicing their opinions and voicing their concerns. We've heard them and we're simply saying to the rest of Jamaica: together, we can conquer this, but we have to work together as a team. We need the support of Government to give us the various tools in order to attack this scourge on our society. We can't do it alone. We are not the police force.

“We've done a number of initiatives in order to try and support and to help reduce electricity theft…we've spent millions of dollars trying to regularise communities in trying to bring this theft down. But it's not going to work with JPS alone. We need our customers, we need our government to stand behind us and work together on a plan that will reduce electricity crime here in Jamaica,” McDonald said.

The senior VP for customer services added: “We want to find ways of bringing down electricity costs. Here in Jamaica, we don't produce natural oil, we don't produce gas…but what we can do is we can reduce what hurts us greatly on our bills, and that's the theft of electricity.”

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