OUR tells JPS Co to do Load Impedance Matching to prevent future Islandwide outage

“The company is also required to clearly enunciate the direct cause of each problem identified and present a solution for each, along with an implementation schedule and costing where applicable,”

OUR Release on the JPS Co Report on their islandwide outage on Saturday August 27th 2016

JPS Co has until Tuesday December 8th 2016 to come up with a solution to their Islandwide power outage (Deer, 2016, September 25) problem that occurred on Saturday August 27th 2016.


So says the OUR (Office of Utilities Regulation) in a release on Wednesday November 16th 2016, who are requesting that the JPS Co do the following (The Jamaica Observer, 2016, November 17) within specified timeframes:

  • Outage managers and supervisors are trained and certified in outage management by industry-recognised institutions
  • Outage managers and supervisors need to know the relationship between system reliability and outage impact on system operations
  • Develop a set of criteria to identify operations critical to system reliability and security
  • Fix communication issues identified back in April 2016
  • Repair equipment defects as a matter of priority
  • Detailed review of generator over-and-under frequency trip settings
  • Implementation of appropriate time delay tripping of generating units

This is really a Band-Aid; JPS Co problems stem mainly from not modernizing their equiptment as they’re only added on communication layers with older equiptment. But even the older equipment isn’t the problem.

Neither is the lack of training of Outage managers and supervisors is one issue. It is true that this is being made worse by JPS Co trained Engineers leaving left Jamaica (The Jamaica Gleaner, 2016, August 29) for greener pastures. This results in a lack of skilled personnel to be promoted to managerial roles as well as being able to handle such emergency situations.


The real problem is JPS Co inability to deal with sudden changes in power demand (Deer, 2016, September 25); sudden drops in power, usually caused by a mass event that causes everyone in Jamaica to turn off their power, such as a natural disaster e.g. an impending hurricane or Earthquake.

This can cause the Generators to go offline as JPS Co Protection system, in protecting Generators from burning out due to a decreased load, will initiate a cascade failure. JPS Co Generators have no problem in meeting excess demand for electricity, as their generators are more than capable or meeting any power demand that the load on the Jamaican Power Grid can throw at them.

Thus the OUR’s recommendation to set a time delay for tripping (running off) of generating units by setting different frequencies is strange. This will actually damage Generators Control equiptment in the long run, increase the amount of system defect that they have to repair.

But the devil, really, is in the details of the OUR Report!

JPS Co Solutions to their Islandwide outage Problem – Storage of excess power and Digital Meters to measure load

In dissecting the OUR Report,  what the OUR is trying to recommend to the JPS Co is the need to practice load impedance matching, a classic concept known to UTECH Power Engineering Students.

This can be achieved by more precisely matching the actual load on their generators by measuring the load directly. By getting more Jamaicans to switch to using Digital Meters, which will allow JPS Co to more precisely monitor (Deer, 2016, August 7) not only electricity usage but also fluctuations in load, this can be achieved.

Still, the best solution is really is to store the excess electricity generated by storing in one form or the other. This means creating an additional standby load, be it a massive bank of Li-Ion or Sulphuric Acid Batteries to store excess power.

Week 4, Prepaid electricity meter
Week 4, Prepaid electricity meter

An even more novel solution would be the use of the excess power to pump water into a huge reservoir on a high elevation, such as on a mountain or even used to convert Sea Water to Hydrogen.

This would convert the kinetic energy of the extra electricity generated during such a drop in load into potential energy that can be exploited in the form of hydroelectric power (Deer, 2014, August 23) or Hydrogen fired Generators (Deer, 2015, December 3) during times of true excess demand.

Additionally, JPS Co move to embrace All-Electric Vehicles from Tesla (Deer, 2016, August 7) and potentially Power Wall Storage. This along with Prepaid Power and easier payments via the use of CONEC Mobile Money (Deer, 2016, July 31) helps to creates more load that can ease the pressure off JPS Co Generators, should this event happen again.

But these are all long-term solution that requires a change in the mindset of Jamaicans as it relates to their usage of electricity……not to mention lots of money. This will help them anticipate another such event in the future, which I predict will happen come Sunday December 25th 2015 and on Sunday January 1st 2017.


  1. Deer, L. (2014, August 23). JPSCo says Hydroelectric down 15% – Solar and Wind fill 115MW Renewable Energy Contract. Retrieved from http://mythoughtsontechnologyandjamaica.blogspot.com/2014/08/jpsco-says-hydroelectric-down-15.html
  2. Deer, L. (2015, December 3). UTECH and Hydrogen as Cooking Gas – How Hydride Salts make Hydrogen Cooking Gas and Fuel Cells possible. Retrieved from http://mythoughtsontechnologyandjamaica.blogspot.com/2015/12/UTECH-Hydrogen-Gas-Cooking-Gas.html
  3. Deer, L. (2016, July 31). How US$5 million JPSCo smart meter rollout means CONEC Mobile Money for Tesla Motors Charging Stations. Retrieved from http://mythoughtsontechnologyandjamaica.blogspot.com/2016/07/US5-million-JPSCo-smart-meter-rollout.html
  4. Deer, L. (2016, August 7). JPSCo US$5 million Smart Grid and Tesla Motors Battery Storage Tech Fixes Low Power Periods. Retrieved from http://mythoughtsontechnologyandjamaica.blogspot.com/2016/08/JPSCo-US5-million-Smart-Grid-Tesla-Motors.html
  5. The Jamaica Gleaner. (2016, August 29). JPS Says Trained Engineers Leaving The Company But Did Not Contribute To Blackout. Retrieved from http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/lead-stories/20160829/jps-says-trained-engineers-leaving-company-did-not-contribute-blackout
  6. Deer, L. (2016, September 25). JPS Co’s Islandwide outage due to Jamaicans turning off their Breakers simultaneously. Retrieved from https://lindsworthdeer.wordpress.com/2016/09/25/jps-cos-islandwide-outage/
  7. The Jamaica Observer. (2016, November 17). OUR tells JPS to fix system to prevent future outages. Retrieved from http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/OUR-tells-JPS-to-fix-system-to-prevent-future-outages_80614



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