Business

JPS says it invested over $12.8 billion in 2017

Company points to capital expenditure record on Jamaica's electricity service

Friday, February 23, 2018

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Jamaica Public Service (JPS) is reporting that it invested $12.8 billion (US$102 million) on capital projects to improve the electricity service across the island in 2017.

According to the light and power company, roughly $4.4 billion of that figure was invested in power generation facilities. “These included investment in the Bogue power plant in St James, as well as the overhaul of one of the major generating units at the Rockfort Power Plant in Kingston to ensure the most efficient operations possible,” JPS explained in a news release.

Noting that the investment was a record for capital expenditure on the island's electricity service, JPS also said it invested approximately $1.5 billion in the installation of 36,400 LED street lights across the country, significantly improving lighting on public thoroughfares.

“Additionally, another $1.5 billion was spent on upgrading works at the Duncans Substation in Trelawny; voltage upgrades in sections of the island, including St Andrew and St Ann; and the installation of more distribution automation switches on the national grid, among other projects to enhance service reliability,” the company said.

“In 2017, JPS went over and above anything that has been done before, in terms of capital investment by this company, and this was very intentional, ” the release quotes JPS President and CEO Emanuel DaRosa. “We assessed our service levels and planned for where we wanted to take the company and Jamaica, and decided that it was necessary to make a very significant investment of capital to achieve these goals.”

The rest of the investment, the company said, covered other major customer service improvement initiatives, such as the roll-out of 22,000 smart meters, bringing the number of smart meters rolled out in two years to over 40,000. “This is an important component in the creation of a smarter grid, and an improved customer experience, as these meters allow for remote connections, and are also capable of informing the company of outages that occur,” JPS said.

The company also invested in the replacement and rehabilitation of 5,927 transmission and distribution poles across the country, explaining that the initiative was important from both a safety and customer service standpoint. “Eight hundred and fifty distribution transformers were also replaced, as the company pushed for higher service standards,” the release added.

The company also said that it kept its promise to reach out to customers to “provide an energy solution for every Jamaican”. “This included the increased installation of Pay As You Go (prepaid) service, which has now passed the 3,500 customer mark.”

The company shared that it has also added 1,500 customers through its community renewal work, which seeks to empower vulnerable residents to get access to legal electricity.

“Some of this work included assistance with house wiring, public education on energy management, and the installation of ready boards to facilitate power supply in homes that cannot accommodate regular electrical wiring,” JPS said, adding that this year it is continuing to “maintain a heightened focus on customer service initiatives and the development of a more robust grid”.

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