Wheatley noted that the Ministry is focused in growth and job creation; however, this cannot be done without a reliable power grid and robust communications backbone.
The Minister was reported saying, “This is the second time in as many weeks that the country has experienced a major utility service outage and this cannot be allowed to continue unchecked. So I will be putting together a task force to look into the root causes of these problems.” [Jamaica launches nationwide smart meter rollout]
The task force will be made up of Ministry, regulatory, academic and consumer representatives. Its primary mandate will be to review and assess the state of services, infrastructure, processes and procedures of the electricity and telecommunications companies in Jamaica.
Wheatley added that, “after the task force is named, it will present a comprehensive report in six months, aspects of which will be made public forming a basis for policy decisions and actions.”
Evaluating network outages
[quote] The Ministry has also requested a full report from telecommunications provider FLOW, following lengthy and widespread internet and phone service outages in the last few days.
Wheatley was advised by the telecommunications provider that between Friday September 2, 2016 and Saturday September 3, 2016 residential and business customers of FLOW experienced a major disruption in internet and voice services. [Jamaican utility selects Silver Spring for smart grid project]
He expressed his concern surrounding the recent outage that affected so many customers and businesses in Jamaica this past weekend.
“This latest incident comes amidst a plethora of complaints by consumers and businesses about the poor quality of service being provided by both major service providers”.
Wheatley continued: “Outages of this nature not only have an impact on residential customers but also have a serious productivity and cost impact on critical business operations that depend heavily on voice and internet services. In this day and age we should not be having these kinds of incidents”.