MANDEVILLE, Manchester — Ava Tomlin, recently appointed parish manager for the Jamaica Public Service (JPS) branch in Manchester, has assured local government councillors that the electricity provider is rebranding and revamping in order to better assist them with the challenges in their respective divisions.
At the Manchester Parish Council’s planning meeting this month, the councillors updated Tomlin — who took office on October 1 — on the recurring issues such as frequent power outages, poor customer service, electricity theft, the need for repairs to streetlights and light poles, and the need for more accountability from JPS contractors.
Councillor Omar Miller of the Craig Head Division (JLP) put into sharp focus the need for a JPS branch in the northeast Manchester town of Christiana, which he said would make the office and its services more accessible.
Miller related the recent case of a 75-year-old diabetic woman in the division who, in an effort to visit the office in Mandeville, got lost as she was not familiar with the area. He said that she had to be hospitalised due to complications of her illness triggered by the experience.
“The amount of money that we have been paying to the JPSCo, we need better service,” said Miller.
Jones Oliphant (Mandeville Division — PNP) suggested a relocation of the office from the present space on Villa Road to a former location on Hargreaves Avenue, arguing that the latter is a more central location and has adequate parking for both JPS staff and customers, which is not the case at Villa Road.
Tomlin, who is one of 15 parish managers installed in a new thrust by the JPS to repair its public image, Tomlin told the councillors that the appointments are all in an effort to improve the relationship between JPS and its customers.
“A part of the [plan for the] 15 (parish) managers and the three regional managers is to give you a more personalised service. There is also new staffing and training going on as it relates to our call service and how we relate to you. Your concerns have been noted and I will make sure the decisions that cannot be made at the local level, or at the regional level, do get transferred up.
“We are committed to a more personalised service, which is why we have now decentralised so that a greater number of decisions can be made within region south to serve you better. Do remember that we are regulated by the OUR (Office of Utilities Regulation), and that is another method of recourse that is available. We do encourage you to use it because we are rebranding, we are revamping and we do want transparency in the system,” she said.
In light of the JPS’ commitments, Mayor and Chairman of the Manchester Parish Council Brenda Ramsay has urged her team to refresh the list of concerns which they would like to have addressed by the light and power company.
The newly appointed manager for the southern region — Manchester, Clarendon, St Elizabeth, and St Catherine — is Keith Garvey. He is the previous general manager of the Rural Electrification Programme.