April 29, 2021
JPS says that it welcomes the search for innovative solutions to address the widescale and growing problem of electricity theft plaguing the country. With just over 18% of electricity generated annually being lost due to non-technical reasons, primarily the theft of service, the Company says the focus on solutions is timely, as the country prepares to develop a National Loss Reduction Plan to determine roles, responsibilities and actions for the near to medium term.
“It is tremendous to see this public interest in finding solutions to electricity theft. The ideas coming forward are a recognition that this issue affects us all. It is a major national problem that demands urgent and collective action. This is spreading crime that has strong roots in both a feeling of impunity and the difficulty by some Jamaicans to afford basic services. To make progress, we have long advocated for resolute public-private partnership,” said JPS President and CEO, Michel Gantois.
His comments come following public discussions prompted by a recommendation from the Parliamentary Opposition, for the installation of individual solar photovoltaic systems to reduce the loss of electricity to an estimated 150,000 to 200,000 illegal users of power from the national grid.
Mr. Gantois noted that, “Electricity theft is a complex problem that requires many different solutions that address the several reasons contributing to the problem, while highlighting that first and foremost, strong and effective enforcement of the rule of law will be required for all solutions to be sustainable. We need immediate programmes that assist those who are vulnerable and genuinely need help; keep a promise of swift and harsh penalties for the hardened and unrepentant thieves, and solutions and that are fair to the thousands of Jamaicans who, often under difficult circumstances, diligently strive to live up to their commitment”.
The JPS CEO says that these are good guiding principles for all stakeholders to work with in forging a plan to address the danger that electricity theft poses to the viability of the electricity grid. He encourages civil and special interest groups and all Jamaicans to join in offering recommendations and proposals to tame the monster of electricity theft.
JPS continues to fight against theft using several methods, ranging from the removal of illegal wires, to the use of smart devices to detect concealed theft and community intervention, through its Community Renewal Department.