Greater scrutiny of JPS grid coming, says Holness

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

Greater scrutiny of the Jamaica Public Service Company’s (JPS) transmission and distribution grid is likely in the aftermath of the damage to the company’s infrastructure by Hurricane Beryl on June 3.

This was stated by Prime Minister Andrew Holness in the House of Representatives on Tuesday in response to questions and comments from Opposition Leader Mark Golding.

Most JPS customers lost power when the category 4 hurricane hit, with 84 per cent having power by Tuesday, July 9, including those who did not lose power and those whose services were restored.

However, in the hardest hit parish of St Elizabeth, more than 250 light poles were toppled, some 225 insulators and cross arms were damaged, as well as 105 conductors and 13 transformers. Power is not expected to be fully restored there until August of this year.

In response to the prime minister’s statement on the Government’s recovery efforts, Golding said JPS needs to ensure that its system is better maintained and more resilient.

“The issue of resilience also applies to the JPS system. We saw many instances of poles which have been impacted by trees and so on, and that’s a maintenance problem,” Golding remarked.

“But there are instances of poles which have just collapsed because they were insufficiently anchored,” Golding said, adding that, “I’m hoping that JPS, in rebuilding its distribution system in those areas which were badly affected, will take into account where there have been weaknesses in the arrangement, and build into the replacement of those assets, a greater concern about the resilience of the posts.”

The prime minister told Golding that greater attention will have to be paid to ensuring that the JPS grid is properly maintained. “It’s something that we have to pay attention to,” he stated.

He noted that “the JPS is required to submit to the OUR (Office of Utilities Regulation) and to the minister of energy, their hurricane preparation plan and their maintenance plan. A far more rigorous review of those plans will be undertaken to ensure that the grid, which is a national infrastructure, is in a position to withstand hurricanes or other weather events. It is critical, and so I agree that greater attention should be paid to that,” Holness stated.