Jamaica powered by weekend

The Jamaica Public Service Co. Ltd. said Tuesday that it expects to restore service to most of its customers by the weekend.

The light and power company said it has employed massive evaluation and restoration efforts across the island following the passage of Hurricane Dean on Sunday, which wreaked havoc on the island, toppling utility posts and power lines.

According to the JPS, however, since yesterday, some sections of Kingston and St. James had begun benefiting from the phased restoration of power supply, as the company sought to reinstate power to critical services – such as hospitals, airports and water-supply facilities – closest to its power plants.

The light and power company said yesterday that it would continue restoring supply to customers in St. James, Kingston and St. Andrew, and will begin to supply some customers in the parishes of Trelawny and Hanover.

Winsome Callum, head of corporate communication at JPS, however, said the company was unable to give a timeline as to when full service would be restored as the company was still conducting damage assessments.

“The overall timeline for restoration will be determined by the extent of the damage to the power system, as well access to the affected areas,” said Ms. Callum in a release.

According to the company’s restoration protocol, “The first priority after the hurricane is to carry out damage assessments. The main focus must first be to identify and fix damage to our power plants and main transmission lines, because without these systems, customers cannot get electricity.”

The JPS said it would also be working closely with the National Restoration Team, which will be coordinated by the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management, to ensure a structured and efficient approach to national restoration.

The company is, however, encouraging its customers to take every precaution at this time.

“Persons using portable genera-tors are reminded that only a licensed electrician should attempt to connect a stand-by generator to the main electric panel of a home or business,” said the JPS. This is to ensure that the power from the generator does not flow back into the company’s lines and injure customers or JPS crews working to restore service.

Individuals are also urged to stay away from fallen power lines as the electricity from private generators that are not properly installed could energise these. The light and power company said it has also had reports of persons stealing transformers and lines from the fallen power lines in some areas, including Pembroke Hall and Portmore.

“The theft of these items could significantly compromise the restoration process,” warned the JPS.

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