Tue | Jan 25, 2022

Letter of the Day | Electrical inspection costs gone through the roof

Published:Thursday | November 25, 2021 | 12:07 AM


My indulgence in the housing construction industry has brought to my attention the inflated cost of electrical inspection for newly constructed homes. As a consequence of the privatisation of the inspection and certification of electrical systems in private and commercial properties, the cost has increased by over 500 per cent. This privatisation became effective in 2021, and in common parlance it’s the cost associated with getting an electrician to “pass the house”. Look out for the inflated costs to be passed on to those seeking housing. We expect the state to make the cost of food, clothing, and shelter as affordable as possible. With this ideal in mind, why is the public seeing massive increases to the pre-2021 costs of between $1,000 and $10,000 for an electrician to submit his report to the Inspectorate? Today, with privatisation and the abolition of the Government Electrical Inspectorate department, charges to applicants are ranging from anywhere between $25,000 and $80,000 per unit.

The fallout of this huge rise impacts the affordability of homes for Jamaicans, and is yet another reason why the theft of electricity – which inflates rate-paying customers’ electricity costs – will continue. The Jamaica Public Service (JPS) will not connect you unless you produce a certificate of inspection. If your electricity has been disconnected for a year, you must get your premises reinspected. I am aware that we live in a favoured market-driven capitalist economy; however, those whom we elect do not preach that message on their campaign platforms.

We cannot deny that homelessness contributes to social decay. It is our interest to be enablers of those seeking to put a shelter over their heads. I invite the Ministry of Science, Energy, and Technology to revisit this policy, which is certain to impact the level of poverty we all see from the proliferation of shacks in informal crime-riddled communities, and where electricity is in full use – being paid for by legitimate customers of the JPS.