JPS disconnects from St Elizabeth customersMonday, June 14, 2021
Since March of this year the people of St Elizabeth have been experiencing very dark days due to the closure of the Jamaica Public Service (JPS) office in Black River, St Elizabeth. JPS has terminated the in-branch services, causing chaos, confusion and inconvenience.
The company has closed seven branches across Jamaica, and for the people of St Elizabeth this is a travesty, as they are now forced to travel all the way to Mandeville to conduct business with JPS.
Not only is this a nightmare to individuals who are not digitally versed to conduct business online, but it is costly and, frankly, the branch in Mandeville cannot efficiently handle the customer load.
St Elizabeth is a large parish and so the many customers are at a disadvantage; they are experiencing significant delays at the Mandeville branch and some matters are not even being dealt with at all.
Winsome Callum of JPS has sought to justify the closure of the Black River office by quoting numbers showing a decline in visitors to the branch in the last six months of 2020. Need I remind JPS that we are in a pandemic? So, of course face-to-face business will be impacted. Additionally, our senior citizens, many of whom utilise the in-branch services, have been under a stay-at-home order since March 2020.
This justification presented by Miss Callum is not reflective of the general number of customer visits to the St Elizabeth office prior to the pandemic. I find it quite misleading to the public and unfair to the customers in St Elizabeth that JPS has sought to use those mid-crisis numbers.
Additionally, the disruption in the relationship between JPS and the people of St Elizabeth preceded this final disconnection. Over the years, St Elizabeth has consistently faced challenges by JPS's power fluctuations and have been plagued by low-voltage problems. These problems have also led to the disruption in the water supply as they affect water pumps in the parish. So, there have been issues of both electricity and water due to the shortcomings of JPS.
What this says to me is that, instead of packing up and leaving us in the dark, it would have been most appropriate that they retain a presence in St Elizabeth, ramp up the solution efforts, and repair the broken lines of communication and restoration.
I call on the powers that be at JPS to reinstate their full services by reopening the JPS office in Black River, St Elizabeth.
Member of Parliament
St Elizabeth South Western
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