Kingston, Jamaica — (METERING.COM) — August 30, 2006 – According to Jamaican officials, The Urban Electricity Regularisation Programme (UERP), which was developed to address the growing incidence of meter tampering and electricity theft by helping residents to regulate electricity supply, is fulfilling its mandate.
The UERP was established in 2003 to deal with the problem of illegal connections in urban areas, which were affecting the government’s drive to bring power to rural communities through its rural electrification programme (REP). Figures released by officials indicate that over 950 households have agreed to take part in the programme. However, of the participants who have already signed house-wiring agreements, only 244 have paid the relevant deposit to enact the agreement.
Commenting on the founding of the programme Keith Garvey, General Manager of REP, said: “Since both [rural electrification and illegal connections] were equally urgent, we had to move toward solutions. At one point, we had people, though not very many, without connections to the national grid, while others had illegal connections, enjoying the convenience of electricity at the expense of others”.
According to Garvey, “the idea was to set up a (revolving) fund where we could reach an agreement with the residents to make installments at bill payment outlets that would cover the cost of connection and regularisation, which the government is subsidising.”
Some householders are still hesitant to take advantage of the revolving fund, saying they fear prosecution. Garvey confirms that stealing electricity is illegal, but has assured householders that provided they apply to have their connection to the grid legalised, they will not be prosecuted.