JPS rejects St Ann councillors' claim of poor serviceWednesday, April 14, 2021
ST ANN, Jamaica— The Jamaica Public Service Company Ltd (JPS) is urging local representatives in St Ann who have complained about the light and power company's level of customer service to take full advantage of the various ways in which they may reach them.
The JPS was responding to concerns raised, during last Thursday's meeting of the St Ann Municipal Corporation.
“We have direct lines of communication between the councillors and our parish team leads. Councillors may also liaise with their contact at the Ministry of Local Government who handles streetlight reports. This is in addition to all the other methods of contacting JPS, including the MyJPS mobile app through which they can log a range of issues including streetlight reports, electricity theft, and other customer service requests,” media and public relations manager for JPS, Audrey Williams told OBSERVER ONLINE.
During last week's meeting, a number of councillors blasted the JPS for what they described as its failure to respond to complaints and concerns.
“I have been making representations through text and email and, to date, none of these have been responded to,” said councillor for the Bensonton Division, Lydia Richard.
She added that she is concerned about the absence of street lights in the rural community of Nine Miles and she fears that JPS' poor customer service and delayed response would give residents the impression that councillors were being ineffective.
“Five lights, that I know of, have been stolen… I've reported it to JPS and nothing is happening. Normally when lights were stolen they would have replaced them, they are not doing that now,” Richard said.
Meanwhile, councillor for the Gibraltar Division Cardell Wickham said over 50 per cent of the lights in his division are not working and there has been no response to his numerous phone calls. Other councillors expressed similar concerns.
Councillor for the Calderwood Division Paul McFarlene pointed to the impact interruptions in the power supply have on students relying on the Internet to do classes online.
“We understand that when we have no electricity we have no Wi-Fi… and I have been bombarded with calls of frequent JPS power outages. This is really a problem as it relates to how we ensure we have connectivity in relation to school children… especially in this time when we have lockdown,” he said.
“I think JPS is not recognising that the people of Calderwood are disenfranchised in a big way. One of the problems is the vegetation on the line... and a low wire dangling in Stepney square.”
The councillors then proposed a meeting with the utility regulator to discuss the level of service it provides in the parish. A similar meeting was requested by the council in 2018 on the same matter.
Responding to the OBSERVER ONLINE by email, the JPS' Williams sought to address some of the concerns raised during the meeting.
“Streetlight repair is an ongoing process; however whenever there are areas of particular concern these locations are prioritised. At this time, repair work is taking place in Hines Town, Parry Town, Beechers Town, Ocho Rios and Exchange,” she explained.
She also said the vegetation-control project is ongoing in several communities. These include: Ocho Rios, Great Pond, Milford Road, Dunnsville, Colegate, Prospect, Green Park, Bamboo, Lilyfield, Lime Hall, Steer Town, St Ann's Bay, Tanglewood, Lewis, Mouth Zion and several others.
When asked about the deep rural areas of the parish, Williams said the repairs are not exclusive to the areas mentioned above and that they met with the councillors over the weekend to outline a plan for the way forward.
She said approximately 80 per cent of streetlights in the parish have now been converted to Smart LEDs in an ongoing project which is set to be completed by the end of 2021, and that approximately 92 per cent of the lights are working.
Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at https://bit.ly/epaper-login