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JPS makes big light theft bust

Illegally connected heated swimming pool and hot tub found inside downtown Kingston building

Thursday, October 26, 2017

The Jamaica Public Service (JPS) yesterday revealed that one of its crews found an illegally connected heated swimming pool and hot tub inside a building used as a business and residence on Rum Lane in downtown Kingston.

The discovery was made on October 12 as the JPS continued its crackdown on electricity theft, a problem that has been plaguing the company for years, resulting in an estimated loss of US$2 million per month.

In fact, earlier this year, then JPS President and CEO Kelly Tomblin told the Jamaica Observer that the company estimated that about 180,000 homes islandwide were benefiting from electricity theft.

Yesterday, the JPS said the October 12 operation was also carried out on Lower Barry Street, Laws Street, and Georges Lane where several other illegal connections were removed.

“JPS has been fighting the scourge of electricity theft, not only by carrying out operations in high-theft areas, but also with the increased use of analytics, on-the-ground intelligence, random sampling, and meter auditing,” the power company said in a news release.

The company said it has found that people have attempted to let some electrical appliances, or other items such as swimming pools, bypass their meter, to avoid paying the correct energy consumption cost.

“Such customers have been caught stealing as much as up to 60 per cent of their consumption. It has been found, however, that these customers tend not to steal above this level, in an effort to appear to have a legitimate electricity bill,” the company explained.

“The illegal abstraction of electricity continues to be detected at all socio-economic levels. Besides the recent finding in the business place in downtown Kingston, instances of electricity theft have also been found in communities on the other end of the spectrum such as Manor Park, Cherry Gardens and Meadowbrook, among other areas,” the JPS said.

It asked individuals wishing to report electricity theft to call its Customer Care Centre at 1888-CALL JPS or 1888-225-5577 or email calljps@jpsco.com.