JPS pledges $45-m COVID-19 assistance package

JPS pledges $45-m COVID-19 assistance package

Sunday, March 29, 2020

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The nation's power provider, JPS, yesterday announced a $45-million assistance package to help in the fight against COVID-19 and to bring relief to members of the disabled community and the elderly.

The announcement was made by JPS President & CEO Emanuel DaRosa, speaking at the company's digital town hall meeting. “It is critical for us to pull together to fight the effects of the global pandemic — which is taking a toll on both the health and economic frontier. Therefore, the JPS Foundation, in partnership with our shareholders Korea East-West Power (EWP), is purchasing diagnostic equipment and testing kits, at a value of approximately $35 million. These have already been ordered and are due to arrive in the island by mid-April,” he informed.

The company has also committed to give assistance to the disabled community as well as the elderly who live alone, who are most at risk at this time. This means that persons who have a JPS account, who are registered with the Jamaica Council for Persons with Disabilities or who are senior citizens who live alone, will not be disconnected for April and May. Additionally, the most vulnerable elderly will be receiving care packages.

Meanwhile, JPS is pointing out that it is critical that power supply is maintained in order to supply other essential services such as hospitals, water supply, telecommunications – especially for internet services — among other necessities. This is why JPS is continuing to do critical planned maintenance, as it is important to the nation's viability. These repair and work sessions will, however, be shortened, as JPS is sensitive to the fact that many persons are at home during the days. The work, however, is critical to avoiding future equipment failure and extensive inconvenience to customers.

JPS is also lobbying the Government for: zero rating of GCT on electricity for both commercial and residential customers; removal of the special consumption tax on fuel used in production of electricity by JPS and independent power producers; and assistance with securing stable and predictable access to foreign exchange used to procure fuel for power generation —in a bid to lower the cost of electricity.

The company, in a statement, said that it continues to do everything to keep Jamaica powered and “bustling” at this time.

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