The Westmoreland Parish Council continues to work with the Jamaica Public Service to ensure that streetlights are adequate throughout the Parish. Citizens are encouraged to guard against vandals as many individuals complain about street lights being missing.
The Ministry of Local Government and Community Development has established a street light hotline, which will enable members of the public to report defective street lights in their communities.
Portfolio minister, Noel Arscott, made the announcement on Tuesday in his contribution to the 2013/14 Sectoral Debate.
The hotline number is 1-888-991-4617 and it becomes operational on July 1. Members of the public are being asked to call the toll-free number, during business hours, Monday to Friday, to make their reports.
Minister Arscott said the move is part of measures by Government to reduce spending on the street lights.
He said more than $3 billion was spent on the service last year and, in the first month of this fiscal year, the Government incurred charges of some $247 million, or 41 cents per kilowatt hour (KWH), reflecting an escalation of more than 105 per cent since January 2009.
"That is an unsustainable and untenable situation," Mr Arscott said. "Given the changes to fuel rates for this fiscal year, this will escalate beyond $3.4 billion if prudence is not exercised in the management of this service provision," he stated.
Already, an islandwide street light audit is advanced and is scheduled to be completed in November. The parishes of Clarendon, Kingston, St Andrew, Manchester and Hanover, have already being audited.
Minister Arscott said the audit, which is being undertaken by the Jamaica Public Service, in partnership with the local authorities, is to ensure that the authorities "know what they are paying for".
He said the ministry has "engaged the Office of Utilities Regulation and will be making sure that, come the next tariff review, taxpayers will no longer pay for street lights, whether or not they are working, but will only pay for functional street lights."