03 Nov Over 200 in “McGregor” get Legal Light
Kingston, November 2, 2016. IN THE PAST YEAR, some 224 electricity consumers in the South East St Andrew community of McGregor Gardens have been regularised as legitimate customers of the Jamaica Public Service Company, up from a total of 7 legal paying customers the year before. “This is a momentous achievement, and it shows that we as Jamaicans can, when given the opportunity, change our behaviour and do what is right,” said Member of Parliament for the area, Julian Robinson.
Under the JPS Community Renewal Programme, McGregor residents applied for legal service with the JPS after a series of community meetings and energy management sessions. Two hundred and thirty homes with “bridge light” were rewired and installed with Pay-As-You-Go Prepaid Meters, and had all incandescent light bulbs replaced with energy-saving fluorescent bulbs by the University of Technology. The work was carried out by JPS with assistance from four residents of the community, who were trained in Electrical Installation by HEART.
The programme, said Robinson, cost US $214,000 and required the input of several government agencies, but has transformed the community. “Having those 230 homes rewired and legitimised means that we have significantly reduced the risk of house fires as a result of faulty and illegal electricity connections,” the MP said. In addition, pointed out Robinson, who, in 2014 while State Minister for Energy in the previous government initiated the renewed effort to reduce electricity theft, the success in McGregor can serve as a model by which other inner-city communities can be legitimised.
“Since rewiring and metering that community, JPS has increased its revenue from virtually nothing to over $1.6 million since the start of 2016,” the MP said. “What we have been able to do in McGregor shows that with will, cooperation and commitment, we can create safer communities and a more responsible citizenry,” Robinson said.