The JPS office in Lucea

The Jamaica Public Service Company Limited (JPS) is the power company in Jamaica that controls the distribution and consumption of the precious commodity. The company has grown leaps and bounds from the days of blackouts and load-shedding, however, despite the improvement in efficiency, the company has been plagued by allegations of poor customer service, especially in the area of billing and distribution.

In Hanover, the only office of the JPS in the parish is based in Lucea, which is a central point for some residents, but a far stretch for others, especially those on the eastern side in places such as Ramble, Content, Haddington and Miles Town etc.

The services provided by the office in Lucea are significant, especially for the elderly and that is why I was very perplexed when I got information that there were plans to relocate the light and power company’s office from within the parish.

At first, I thought it was a joke, but on further investigation, I was reliably informed that the company had sent out an Internal Memo to members of staff and had held a meeting with them last week Wednesday to discuss the issue. It is my understanding that coming out of the meeting, the staff was informed that the company was still negotiating with unions and government entities and consultations are being held with stakeholders in the parish, and so another meeting will be reconvened with them in two weeks’ time.

I strongly suspect that this meeting will be held in two weeks, but it will be to inform the staff, and later on the public, that the company was indeed closing its doors in Hanover. If this is true, then something must be wrong with doing business in Hanover. Why would the JPS want to close its Lucea offices? If the office is closed, where would pensioners and other persons from the parish go when they need to make enquiries about their bills? What benefits would people in the parish get if the JPS office is relocated? These are serious questions that need to be answered.

With this latest development, I am wondering if Hanover is closed for business.Why do I say this?A few years ago, Scotia Bank Lucea was closed for business. The bank, in their opinion, was just not making money, so they shutter their doors and told us that we should use the ATMs that are at the locations. But can ATMs talk to customers? Can ATMS give loans to customers? Then to add insult to injury, National Commercial Bank downgraded its branch, removing Full Branch Status. What is happening why major institutions feel that they don’t need to have any business offices in Hanover? Where are our leaders? Why are they so quiet? Are any of them even aware that these changes are being contemplated by JPS?

Apart from Mayor of Lucea Sheridan Samuels, who I have heard voicing his disapproval, it’s like our leaders are clueless as to what is happening around them and the implications for the wider Hanover. If JPS should close its doors it will be a sad day for Hanoverians who will have to travel to Montego Bay and Westmoreland to have their concerns, such as billings issues, heard. It is unfair and we need to take a stand that this doesn’t happen. I want the JPS to publicly comment on this issue. Will they be closing the Lucea offices? Have they been consulting with residents and businesses in the parish? If so, by what medium?

Hanover right now appears to be rock bottom in everything. It’s about time someone takes the interest of the parish and fight for it. The residents, including the old and vulnerable, would appreciate this, if it’s even for once.