JAMAICA-ENERGY-Electricity company says it made significant investments last year

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KINGSTON, Jamaica, Feb 23, CMC – The Jamaica Public Service (JPS) says it has invested J$12.8 billion (One Jamaica dollar=US$0.008 cents) last year on capital projects aimed at improving electricity service to consumers across the island.
It said that the investment was a record for capital expenditure and that it had also invested an estimated J$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 JPS said in a statement.
“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,” said JPS President and chief executive officer, 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 company said that the investments also covered major customer service improvement initiatives, such as the roll-out of 22,000 smart meters, increasing the number of such devices 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 JPS said, adding that it also 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 said, adding that it 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.

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