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JPS urges J'cans to take a stand against dishonesty

Friday, November 10, 2017

KINGSTON, Jamaica — Electricity supply company Jamaica Public Service (JPS) is urging Jamaicans to take a stand against dishonesty as it continues to unearth instances of electricity theft in both lower income and middle-income communities across the island.

JPS, in a release today, said that even though it has been making significant strides in curtailing the scourge, it still loses some 18 per cent of the electricity generated each year to theft.

"We largely see throw ups (wires thrown up) in some of the poorer communities, but we have also been seeing sophisticated bypass devices built into various middle-class homes. So, theft is certainly not restricted to a single socio-economic group and is not simply a matter of need," argued Rasheed Anderson, Director of Losses Operations and Analytics at JPS.

“It is a socio-cultural problem where people feel like they can steal electricity and that they are entitled,” he added.

Explaining the worrisome phenomenon as it plays out in inner-city communities, notable psychologist Dr Leachim Semaj believes that it has been enabled by those in authority.

“I believe those communities came to that position by facilitation at the highest level. There would be some correlation between electricity theft and Garrison communities,” he pointed out, noting that, “the politics is the weakest link in the cultural fabric. There is a politics that came about in the 70s and 80s; that entitlement mentality.”

Semaj added that the dysfunctional mentality is one that has been learned over time.

Recognising the complexity of the socio-cultural problem, the JPS said it has been rolling out various social intervention programmes designed to assist communities to take a stand by helping community members to learn various skills, gain employment and better manage aspects of their lives, including how they consume electricity.