Business

Poles apart, JPS and customer seek solution

TELL Claudienne

Sunday, September 24, 2017

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Dear Claudienne,

My family owns a small apartment complex in Coral Gardens, Montego Bay, comprising five apartments.

A Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) light pole near the swimming pool in the complex has been an obstruction for us from the day we acquired the property six years ago.

We bought the property when FINSAC auctioned it some time ago.

We have called JPS several times to report the deteriorating state of the pole and have asked them to remove it, but they refuse to do so unless they are paid a fee.

The company has quoted an exorbitant fee of $500,000 to remove the pole from our property.

Apparently the pole has been there from the 1950s. We have no idea who granted them permission, but since we acquired the property we have been trying to upgrade the units and do some landscaping.

Considering the decrepit condition of the pole and its proximity to the swimming pool, we fear that it could collapse and electrocute someone.

The pole needs to be removed immediately before a calamity occurs, as lawsuits would be sure to follow such an event.

We are sending you pictures that show the location of the pole.

We would appreciate your help in resolving this matter.

MC

Dear MC,

The JPS has informed Tell Claudienne that the company obtained easement rights (a legal agreement) from the original owner of the property to put the light pole where it is located. The JPS would have paid the original owner of the property for the easement.

The JPS has also pointed out that the swimming pool was built after they obtained easement rights.

The JPS sent Tell Claudienne a copy of the legal agreement it signed in 1957 with Caribbean Realty and Trust Company, the requisite landowner of the property that you now own.

The relevant section of the second schedule of the agreement which the JPS signed with your predecessor in title (the original owner of the property) reads as follows:

“The liberty and right now and at all times hereafter of establishing, erecting, constructing, maintaining, repairing, renewing, cleaning, removing, replacing and inspecting and operating an Electric Transmission and/or Distribution Line of poles, towers, anchors, struts and guys, together with all necessary wires, cables, insulators, devices and other appurtenances necessary for the purpose of the transmission and/or distribution of electric energy and current from any of the electricity stations in, through, upon, over or under the grantor's lands along the centre line of the path shown in red on the plan hereunto annexed, and the liberty and rights at all times hereafter of cutting down, trimming of trees, growth, bushes, crops and vegetation which may at any time be growing on or extending over the strip of land lying within 25 feet of either side of the path shown the said plan, and which may in the judgement of the company interfere with or impede or be likely to interfere with or impede any of the matters or things herein mentioned or referred to, together with the free and uninterrupted right of entryway and passage for the Company and its agents, workmen and servants at all times........”

By letter dated April 18, 2017, the JPS advised you of this and informed you that if you now require the removal of the JPS equipment, “given the company's easement, you would have to bear the cost of relocating same, if possible.”

In the letter the JPS stated that “in the interest of good customer relations and amicably resolving this matter, the JPS would be minded to review the proposed costing of the relocation and to see if a mutually satisfactory approach can be determined”.

In the letter you were given the name of their representative to contact at the commercial office in Montego Bay. The representative would outline the process for removal of the light pole and the steps you would need to take to accomplish this.

However, the JPS said that up to the time (September 4, 2017) when they sent us a copy of the easement agreement, they had not heard from you.

Please understand that Tell Claudienne cannot negotiate with the JPS on your behalf for a reduction of the cost of removing the pole.

We suggest that you contact the company forthwith, as they have stated their willingness to discuss the matter with you in order to arrive at a “mutually satisfactory” outcome.

We have learnt that in making a decision, such matters as your consumption and collections history would be looked at.

We note that after we contacted the JPS, on August 31, 2017 they sent you a copy of the letter first sent to you on April 18, 2017.

We see that you took our advice and are now having discussions with the company about the removal of the pole.

We wish you all the best.

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