Jamaica Public Service reports benefits from smart grid technology

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Jamaica Public Service reports improvements in power reliability as well as streetlighting energy efficiency.

Jamaica’s electricity utility has reported that during 2020 the frequency of unplanned power outages fell by roughly a third from an average of 11 times to an average of 8 times per year. There are, however, thousands of customers who very rarely experience unplanned outages.

Jamaica Public Service attributes this growing improvement in reliability to the increased use of smart grid technology, improved equipment management and use of more scientific approaches to vegetation management along the company’s powerlines.

The company notes, however, that while there was a reduction in the number of outages, the duration of some service interruptions were impacted by the tropical storms which brought prolonged wet conditions, landslides and flooding.

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“I am very encouraged that the investment in technology is helping to deliver an improved experience to our customers,” says JPS senior vice president of energy delivery, Blaine Jarrett.

“In previous times, the challenges that we faced in 2020 would have led to significant and prolonged outages. Now, we’re able to respond in a more agile fashion to address our customers’ needs.”

Jamaica Public Service also has reported having surpassed the 80% milestone in the change out of the islands streetlights for smart LEDs, with many of the parishes completely outfitted with them.

All island coverage is expected by December this year.

Approximately 84,700 LEDs are now in place, about one-fifth of them installed during the past year with the additional challenges that it brought.

Jamaica Public Service attributes the success of the programme, which is being undertaken with parish stakeholders, to the company’s commitment to leveraging technology for the benefit of customers.

The upgraded LED streetlights, in addition to being more energy efficient, are also fitted with smart controllers which allow for improved maintenance and monitoring.