The committee established to tackle the issue of electricity theft is holding its first meeting today.
The team is chaired by Julian Robinson, Minister of State in the Ministry of Energy, and includes representatives of the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS), the country's sole distributor of electricity.
The JPS has been grappling with a severe problem of electricity theft for several years, and last week, took the unprecedented step of disconnecting power to several communities which have a high level of theft. There was a huge public outcry against that action, on behalf of legitimate customers in those communities, and the company was ordered by the country's utilities regulator to restore regular service.
Arising from that drastic action on the part of the JPS, the government appointed the committee, chaired by Mr. Robinson.
Mr. Robinson, speaking with RJR News after this initial meeting, disclosed that the JPS had presented "quite a bit of data on the issue - the areas where there is the highest incidence of theft. They have other proposals... we're going to look at the proposals they have on the table."
Additional "about 30 very well thought out... very high quality" recommendations had already come from members of the public, as well, he disclosed.
He said the forum, which will allow members of the public to give suggestions on ways to tackle electricity theft, will go ahead, based on response received so far.
"I think it would be useful to have those persons present those ideas to us," he said.
CUE IN: Definitely as I
CUE OUT: complex than that
State Minister for Energy, Julian Robinson