Government continuing to engage JPS in fixing streetlights Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

The government will continue engaging the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) regarding repairs to defective streetlights islandwide.

Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Desmond McKenzie, disclosed while responding to questions from members of the Standing Finance Committee of the House of Representatives, who are currently reviewing the 2024/25 Estimates of Expenditure, about the malfunctioning lamps.

While noting that the government is up to date with payments to the JPS, McKenzie said he was dissatisfied “in terms of the response as it relates to the repairs of streetlights”.

“I have to call on many occasions and when I do call, we do get some response. But I do know that the various municipalities across the country have made repeated complaints,” he pointed out.

“I intend to, at some point in time, again engage [the] JPS at this level, because we do have sufficient evidence to prove that a lot of the lights have gone for months without being attended to. So, yes, we are current in our payments, [but] we do acknowledge that there is a weakness in the repair response,” McKenzie added.

He advised that the ministry receives a report from the JPS in terms of installation and repairs.

“We sign off, almost on a weekly basis, in excess of 500 applications coming from various municipalities for streetlights, and we do send them to the JPS. We have a process that we sit with the JPS [and] we do get a report from the JPS as to how many lights they have installed [and] repaired,” he said.

McKenzie explained that the JPS installs streetlights based on request and assessment.

“In new communities that are established, the layout of streetlights has to be a part of the whole approval process. I will agree that we are having serious challenges with repairs; it is a major concern. I think they have done a better job in installing new lights than they do in maintaining the existing lighting system.

McKenzie said the new arrangement with the service provider is for the installation of energy-efficient lighting.

“They would have taken down the old lamps that existed 10 to 15 years ago and replaced them with energy-efficient lighting; in some areas, I’ve seen where solar lighting is being erected,” he said.

The minister noted, however, that theft of the new lighting systems remains a concern.

“I’ve been into some communities where I have seen some municipalities, on their own initiative, installing solar lights and I’m very, very pleased with the quality of the lighting that is offered. But it’s something that we will engage the JPS on,” he said.