Successful Vegetation Control Project to be Expanded in 2021 – New Scientific Methods help keep power lines clear and reduce outages

February 1, 2021

JPS has introduced new scientific methods, which are proving effective, in helping to keep vegetation off the Company’s lines. This latest move is part of a series of initiatives which resulted in the frequency of outages being reduced by 30% last year. Data compiled by the Company over the past five (5) years, has shown that vegetation coming into contact with power lines, is one of the leading causes of unscheduled outages. Like other countries with tropical climates, Jamaica has lush and fast growing vegetation which often poses a significant challenge along the transmission and distribution network. The Company therefore commenced a pilot project in 2020, which included the use of Geographic Information Systems and drone technology to track and gather data, as well as the application of environmentally safe herbicides and other measures to control interference from plant life.

One of the notable successes of the project is the line section from Danks to Colonel’s Ridge in Clarendon, which supplies 11,000 customers. The line runs across a steep, heavily vegetated area with fast-growing bamboo that can shoot up to 12 inches per day. Focus on this stretch resulted in a 60% reduction in the frequency and duration of outages experienced by customers in that vicinity. The lines also remained free of vegetation for over 9 months, before requiring follow-up.
Plans are in place, the Company has advised, for the continued targeting of the most vulnerable line sections across the island. Other parishes targeted for the ongoing pilot include: St. Andrew, St. Thomas, Manchester, St. Ann, St. James and Westmoreland.

JPS Team member works at containing the growth of fast-growing bamboo, to prevent contact with transmission and distribution lines – a source of unplanned outages. Bamboo is capable of growing up to 12 inches per day, presenting a significant challenge to teams who work to keep the lines clear, to ensure power reliability to customers.

JPS Senior Vice President of Energy Delivery, Blaine Jarrett, in commenting on the development, noted that JPS will continue to apply advanced methods to optimize the quality of service being delivered to customers. “We have come a long way,” he observed, “And we have further to go. Our customers can depend on us to continually innovate and adopt the best methods available in order to serve them. 2021 will be a year in which we will extend ourselves even further to create the results that both our customers and the JPS team want to see.”

The company intends to introduce additional vegetation management methods such as, tree girdling and stump treatment, which are widely practiced by utilities across the world.

Leave a reply