Westmoreland councillors slam JPS for increase in depositFriday, June 11, 2021
WESTMORELAND, Jamaica — Councillor for the Little London Division in this parish, Ian Myles, has strongly objected to the Jamaica Public Service's (JPS) hefty increase in the deposit required from residential customers.
“There is no way that OUR [Office of Utilities Regulation] can allow a 400 per cent increase,” argued Myles at Thursday's monthly meeting of the parish's municipal corporation. On June 1, JPS increased the new account deposit for both residential and commercial accounts. Residential customers saw an increase from $1,500 to $6,000 while commercial clients had their deposit move from $6,000 to $10,000. The increase also applies to accounts disconnected two times or more in the last 12 months.
Councillor for the Cornwall Mountain Division, Dawnett Foster, agreed with Myles' comment, arguing that the sharp increase in the deposit would encourage more electricity theft.
“JPS is now encouraging people to go out and throw up [wires onto the power grid],” she said during the meeting.
In response to her comment, JPS customer service area manager Janice Carr told OBSERVER ONLINE that it was unfortunate the increase was being viewed that way.
“There's no justification for theft, as the matter of theft is a social one,” stated Carr.
She also sought to explain the reason for the increase, the first in more than a decade.
“The move is aimed at addressing the growing bad debt that we're experiencing as a company, and reducing exposure among routinely delinquent customers,” she said.
In conjunction with the increased deposit the JPS also introduced a refund system. Residential customers who have paid their bills on time for 24 consecutive months, starting January 1, 2021, have the option of having their deposit refunded.
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