JPS Invested Over J$12.8 Billion in 2017 – Record Breaking Year for Capital Expenditure on Jamaica’s Electricity Service
JPS is reporting that 2017 was a record year of capital investment in Jamaica’s electricity service. The 12 month period saw the light and power Company investing J$12.8 Billion or US$102 Million on capital projects to improve the electricity service across the island. Roughly J$4.4 Billion of that figure was invested in the Company’s 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 also invested approximately J$1.5 Billion in the installation of 36,400 LED streetlights across the country, significantly improving lighting on public thoroughfares. Additionally, another J$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.
JPS President & CEO, Emanuel DaRosa, notes, “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. 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 covered other major customer service improvement initiatives, such as the rollout 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.
The Company also invested in the replacement and rehabilitation of 5,927 transmission and distribution poles across the country. This initiative was important from both a safety and customer service stand point. Eight hundred and fifty distribution transformers were also replaced, as the Company pushed for higher service standards.
As promised, JPS continued 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 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.
The Company continues this year, to maintain a heightened focus on customer service initiatives and the development of a more robust grid.