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Steer Town benefits from Rural Electrification Project -150 houses to be wired under the plan

STEER TOWN, St. Ann: Some 150 households in Steer Town, St. Ann will be wired for connection to the national electricity grid under the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development’s (MLGRD) Rural Electrification Project.

The work, which is being carried out under the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF), is expected to be completed by August.

“We are officially launching this special project where we are working in communities right across the country in providing electricity, not the one that we are accustomed to in many communities with the throw-up on the Jamaica Public Service (JPS) line,” said Portfolio Minister Honourable Desmond McKenzie.

“The Andrew Holness government is providing some J$250 million (and) we are not just putting in the structure in the various homes and communities. We have developed a partnership with the JPS, and I want to say how grateful we are for this partnership.”

The Minister was addressing residents in Roaring River, Steer Town on June 24.

“The partnership with JPS is that once we have wired and the homes are certified, they will connect you to their system and you become official paid-up customers of the Jamaica Public Service Company. This investment by the Government is coming from your tax dollars and it is going to be important that you not be good customers for just the first six weeks or two months, and then after that you become delinquent.”

Work in Steer Town, the pilot community, began in May at a cost of J$38m.

The programme forms part of the Government’s efforts to provide vulnerable households with electricity access. The JPS through its Community Renewal Unit will sign contracts with the householders for them to become regularised.

The Rural Electrification Project is also providing employment for members of the Steer Town community.

According to JSIF’s Managing Director, Mr. Omar Sweeney, a little over 100 premises have been wired.

“They still need to be inspected by the GEI (Government Electrical Inspectorate) and the light poles by JPS are almost complete in terms of that infrastructure. So, we anticipate that certainly by August, persons will have their electricity accounts established with JPS and will really be able to have some more reliable service.”

Each targeted household will receive a stanchion to take the connection from the main supply, the meter socket and a panel inside the house for the safety and the switches.

“They will receive two plugs and two lights within the premises. But the panel will give them the opportunity to also expand more in their own right…it will certainly be adequate to carry whatever loads that the average householder in the community will use,” added Mr. Sweeney.

Mr. Ramsay McDonald, Senior Vice President Customer Services at JPS, expressed his gratitude for the partnership.

“Our role here in this community, firstly is safety. Too many things happen when there is not a proper infrastructure in place and I know the people of Steer Town have a desire for safe reliable electricity and that is what we are bringing to the community today,” he stated.

“We are looking forward to great things as we continue to work with you in this community, and that it will become a flagship for other communities that we will work with throughout the island.”