OUR issues directives to JPS about April blackout

November 17, 2016

Following its assessment of the April 2016 power outage, the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) has issued several directives to the Jamaica Public Service Company Limited (JPS) to help improve its systems and prevent future such occurrences.

The directives are contained in a report prepared by the OUR in keeping with its mandate to provide its own analyses of the issues and causation leading to the outage event; and review circumstances prior to, during and after the outage as well as its findings and recommendations. The OUR has also completed an interim report on its investigation into the August outage which has so far indicated a number of common causes between the outages. The public will be provided with an update on the interim findings into the August outage next week.

 

Recommendations

 

The OUR has instructed JPS to provide it with an action plan on the implementation of all of its recommendations which should include specific time frames for their completion. This is to be provided within 30 days from November 8, the date of JPS' receipt of the OUR report. For the longer term, the OUR has instructed JPS to develop coordinated longterm generation and transmission plans to address existing transmission system constraints. The OUR's review identified the main cause of the system outage as a lack of situation awareness on the part of JPS' outage management, operational and field personnel involved in critical aspects of the management of the outage. It found that there was insufficient risk assessment carried out prior to the planned outage.

The OUR investigation team also determined that the outage, although planned, was poorly managed and executed. It highlighted as examples, that JPS did not provide an outage plan including clear lines of authorisation, communication, management and functional responsibilities for the outage activities. The OUR further observed that although the planned outage started after a delay of almost four hours, there was no commensurate scope adjustment to reduce the probable system impact of the late start.

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