JPS Disaster Centre
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
As part of our normal operating procedure, JPS takes steps to ensure that all relevant operational areas of the company are ready to respond in the event of an emergency.
The Company starts its preparation for the hurricane season early in the year. This preparation involves our core operational areas of Generation, Power Delivery, and Region Operations, as well as support areas such as Materials Management and Information Systems.
An important element of our preparation is the ongoing structural integrity programme, which involves the replacement of old wooden poles with concrete poles to reduce the likelihood of displacement or damage by flooding and strong winds. In addition, the company makes sure that adequate material and other resources are in place to facilitate speedy repair and replacement of damaged equipment.
Employee preparedness is an important part of the Company's emergency plan. That's why each year we carry out refresher training and disaster simulation to ensure employee readiness.
JPS boasts the most sought-after linemen in the region. Because of their expertise, our technical teams are often called on to assist other Caribbean utilities in their restoration efforts after hurricanes. This team of trained experts is standing ready to do whatever it takes to get customers' lights back on in the shortest possible time after a hurricane. In addition to its in-house expertise, JPS has a network of contractors who are on stand-by to provide assistance where necessary.
JPS' power system is built to withstand and operate throughout some hurricane conditions. However, if the conditions are severe, it may become necessary for JPS to shut down some or all of its power plants, and Transmission and Distribution network.
The decision to turn off the power is dependent on the strength of the hurricane and the likely damage to the system. Every hurricane is different, so JPS has to monitor the circumstances associated with each hurricane and respond accordingly. It is therefore difficult to predict if, and when, the power is likely to be turned off. However, once the decision is made, the Company will advise the public via the electronic media.
JPS has a systematic restoration protocol that must be observed in order to restore power safely to everyone in the shortest possible time.
After the hurricane, our first priority is to assess the extent of the damage to our system in the respective parishes. The main focus must first be to identify and fix damage to our power plants and main transmission lines, because without these systems customers cannot get electricity.
Once this phase of repair is completed, electricity will first be restored to the main lines that provide electricity to essential services such as hospitals, airports, communication systems, and water supply facilities.
We will also focus on fixing the damage that will restore supply to most people in the shortest time. Once the damage on the main transmission and distribution lines is fixed, then attention is given to the smaller lines, and finally to individual customers with isolated problems.
The overall timeline for restoration will be determined by the extent of the damage to the power system, and the accessibility of the affected areas.
If the entire community is out of electricity after the hurricane, be assured that JPS is aware of the outage and is working to restore supply to you. Do call, however, if power is restored to your neighbours' homes or businesses but not to yours. Also, listen to the radio and check the newspapers for updates on restoration.
JPS, with the approval of the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR), has established a Self Insurance Fund, or Disaster Fund, to cover damage to its Transmission & Distribution network, for which the Company is unable to get insurance coverage. The Company's operating licence also allows JPS, with the approval of the Regulator, to recover the cost of damage to its network through rates to customers. The OUR will ultimately determine how these options are utilized, depending on the circumstances. This situation is not unique to JPS, but reflects the experience of other electric utilities in the 'hurricane belt'.