Saharan dust may affect power supply, JPS cautions

The Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) said the Saharan dust, which continues to linger over sections of the island, may have an impact on the reliability of power supply, as well as on customers’ usage.

The company’s Vice President for Energy Delivery, Blaine Jarrett, said the settling of the dust on the power delivery infrastructure could lead to power outages.

“The heavy dust represents an increase in contaminants on the system, which can result in short-circuit conditions – especially if we have light rain,” he explained.

Jarrett added: “JPS has been closely monitoring the situation, and has intensified our maintenance activities to ensure limited disruption in power supply to our customers. However, in the event of power outages, JPS teams are on standby to respond as quickly as possible to restore service to affected customers.”

JPS also reminded customers to monitor their electricity usage during this time when they are encouraged to stay indoors.

“With the higher temperatures, it is likely that more persons will be using their fans and air conditioning units, and going into their refrigerators more frequently. We encourage you to use what you need as efficiently as possible,” Jarrett advised.

The power company also stated that persons with solar panels may see a drop in the power produced by the panels because the Saharan Dust has reduced the impact of the sun’s rays. That could result in customers taking more power than usual from the grid. Therefore, JPS is urging more self-monitoring by customers.

“We are very sensitive to our customers’ concerns about high bills, and so we urge everyone to pay close attention to the different variables that could cause their bills to move. Customers are encouraged to adjust their actions, wherever possible, to ensure that their electricity usage remains in line with their expectations,” he emphasized.


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