The Jamaica Public Service (JPS) has expressed fears that customers will see more frequent and much longer power outages because of the suspension of the company’s Transformer Protection Programme by the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR).
In a recent release, the company stated:
Faced with recurring equipment failure and spiraling replacement costs, JPS had initiated a Transformer Protection pilot project to protect its equipment from huge unpredictable overload and premature failure. “There have been at least 110 premature transformer failures due to such loads between January 2020 and August 2021, at a replacement cost of more than J$25M.
We are shocked that the OUR would frustrate our efforts to protect our equipment and manage outages faced by our customers due to unauthorized overload,” said Michel Gantois, JPS President & CEO. He was responding to the OUR’s ‘Cease and Desist Order’ which requires JPS to suspend its Transformer Protection Programme for a period of 90 days until further investigations are carried out by the OUR.
“This ruling will make it so much more difficult for us to provide reliable service to customers in some communities, because of the recurring damage to equipment caused by overload. We anticipate that the OUR, after its promised investigations, will return a more balanced decision which supports the company’s right to protect its investment,” the JPS CEO pointed out.
“It is unfair that this equipment failure replacement cost is borne by JPS and its paying customers. Good customers will face long outages while we dispatch our teams to replace equipment which will invariably be destroyed again,” the JPS CEO continued. “JPS has an obligation to protect the safety and reliability of supply from our equipment.
The OUR’s directive will have very dramatic and unfortunate consequences for children who need to study, for people who have to work from home, and for businesses. We urge the OUR and the Government of Jamaica to focus on the real issues that cause these frequent equipment failures and power outages. JPS remains committed to continuing to play its part in support of these efforts,” the JPS CEO said.
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