Residents ditch 'bandooloo' light for 'ready boards'

July 19, 2017
Arvin Stewart shows off the ready board.
Dane McLean, project officer at JSIF.
Collin Grant is pleased with the 'ready board' initiative.
Itina McKoy is happy to be legal.

A partnership between the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF), the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS), USAID and the University of Technology (UTech) is providing residents of Majesty Gardens with a chance to have legal electricity in an innovative way.

Through a unique device called the 'ready board' that has plugs, sockets and light, the equipment can be placed in any convenient area inside the homes of residents.

"The Ready Board Project is a pilot that we do in the community of Majesty Gardens for houses that can't be wired in the conventional way," project officer at JSIF, Dane McLean, said.

USAID provided the component parts, which were installed by students from the Department of Engineering at UTech. Once the ready boards were assembled, JSIF then provided the supervision services to have the boards installed for the residents.

"We targeted 400 residences, and we actually have 326 of them already with ready boards installed," McLean told THE STAR.

While the residents do not pay a capital cost for the boards, they pay a commitment fee of $2,500, and they will not be given a light bill at the end of the month. Instead, a prepaid solution is used, which allows them to purchase credit to top up their electricity at any hour of the day.

"The project has been going on for the last 12 months and, by and large, the residents have welcomed the initiative," he said.

McLean explained that prior to the Ready Project coming into the community, less than 10 per cent of residents had legal electricity. Now, he said about 60 per cent of residents have legal electricity.

Itina McKoy, who was the first recipient of a ready board in the community last November said that prior to getting the ready board, her family's source of electricity was through illegal connections.

"When we used to have the bandooloo light, it used to go weh, go weh, and when police a come, we did have to tek it off. Now we get the right light, we comfortable with it," she explained, noting that her monthly bill is about $1,000.

Similarly, 54-year-old Collin Grant, who has been living in the community since 1986, said he is happy to experience legal electricity after stealing power for many years.

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