SEVERAL streetlights on Maxfield Avenue in Kingston have been knocked out again.The Jamaica Public Service (JPS), in a release yesterday, said a month after the collaborative efforts of the company, the Jamaica Constabulary Force and the residents of Maxfield Avenue to keep streetlights free of illegal connections and thereby functional, almost 40 per cent of the streetlights in the area have stopped functioning due to multiple instances of electricity theft.The JPS said streetlights are not designed to provide domestic power supply to homes for their electrical appliances, such as refrigerators and televisions. “They are, therefore, being destroyed due to the strain of persistent overloading.”

On August 5, JPS representatives and members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force met with residents of the Maxfield community and local leadership to hammer out the way forward, given the continued breaches of the streetlights and the resultant malfunctioning of these structures. The JPS said at that meeting, residents committed to stop connecting illegally to the streetlights as their actions were putting their community at risk. They also committed to holding each other accountable so as to clamp down on the practice.According to the light and power company, the illegal abstraction of electricity has incurred significant costs for the company. “JPS has carried out repairs on 85 streetlights, at a cost of US$17,000 or J$2.16M, and already 34 no longer work due to breaches. Additionally, the company pays US$5,000 to replace each burnt transformer. Three transformers have been destroyed in the last five weeks alone due to power theft.The company yesterday pleaded with residents of the community to desist from stealing from the streetlights, urging them to visit its offices to start the process of regularisation.[Jamaica Observer]