Minister of Science, Energy and Technology Dr. Hon. Andrew Wheatley has decided to convene a task force to examine the state of utilities in Jamaica in light of recent devastating incidents. The Minister notes that “this administration is focused on growth and job creation but this cannot be achieved without a reliable power grid and robust communications backbone.”
“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.” said Wheatley.
The task force will be comprised 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. The Minister says “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”.
Demands Report on Network Outages from FLOW
Minister Wheatley has also requested a full report from telecommunications provider FLOW surrounding the lengthy and widespread internet and phone service outages this past weekend.
Minister 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. The source of the problem was identified and services were subsequently restored. FLOW also advised the Minister that a full investigation will be conducted into the matter.
Minister Wheatley stated: “I am very concerned about this recent outage that affected so many customers and businesses island-wide 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”.
Dr 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”.
Dr. Wheatley has requested a preliminary report from FLOW to be submitted on Monday September 5, 2016 with a full report to follow on Thursday September 8, 2016.
Dr. Andrew Wheatley
Minister of Science, Energy & Technology