JPS closing seven offices

JAMAICA’S light and power company, the Jamaica Public Service (JPS), will be closing seven of its offices next month, as it begins the shift to a new digital customer service system.

“Closure of the seven JPS offices will begin on March 8, after which only the Bill Express sections and the courtesy phones to call the JPS Call Centre will remain. Closures will be complete on April 1.

“Five JPS Customer Service Offices will remain open: Ruthven Road, Kingston & St Andrew; Spanish Town, St Catherine; Mandeville, Manchester; St Ann’s Bay, St Ann; and Montego Bay, St James,” JPS said in a release yesterday. The company had closed offices in Trelawny, Portland and Hanover in early 2020.

The company promised to maintain a presence in the communities it serves, even with the closure of the offices. “We will also be providing service through our mobile offices, where we are able to overcome the challenges posed by the COVID pandemic,” the company said.

In the meantime, the JPS announced that it will be accelerating its digital customer service system, noting that more of its customers were choosing to do transactions online.

“We are responding to changing customer behaviour,” said Ramsay McDonald, JPS senior vice-president of customer services. “Less than five per cent of our customers in these parishes actually go into the offices to do transactions. In the last year, we saw a dramatic reduction in the number of customers coming into our offices, as more persons are choosing to contact us by telephone or through our online contact points. Currently, over 70 per cent of customer contacts with JPS comes through our 24-hour call centre, social media sites, Webchat, e-mails, and our recently launched mobile app. We are, therefore redeploying resources to our customers’ preferred contact points to ensure seamless delivery of service,” JPS said.

It added that the primary reason customers visit JPS offices is to pay bills and make bill queries, and even these are being done remotely at an increasing rate. “There has been a steady uptick in online bill payments, with fewer and fewer customers coming in to do these payments. The movement away from office visits has no doubt been influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic, but this trend has been in the making for a few years now. More persons recognise that there are several more convenient options available to them. Additionally, the new MyJPS mobile app has accelerated the shift to digital interactions, as our customers now have access to a wide range of services at their fingertips, including bill payments and account updates, usage tracking, outage reporting, and application for service,” McDonald pointed out.