Jamaica: Readyboard Electrification Demonstration Project

Speeches Shim

Baseline Survey Design & Implementation

Prior to installing any readyboards, the SRUC team conducted a survey in the Majesty Gardens community to gain a better understanding of the community. The baseline survey was conducted over the course of three months by Hope Caribbean Company Ltd. (Hope) to understand the attitude towards electricity consumption, usage habits, attitudes/opinions, and income levels of the residents. With more than 350 residents interviewed, the effort was extensive and thorough, helping the SRUC team and its stakeholders develop a deep local context for the readyboard project efforts.

The Majesty Garden community facilitator helps a resident sign up as an official JPS customer, creating an official record and generating statements that can help residents register for other public and private services.
The Majesty Garden community facilitator helps a resident sign up as an official JPS customer, creating an official record and generating statements that can help residents register for other public and private services.
Deloitte

The survey found that connections are overwhelmingly casual/illegal, with payments not being made to JPS, but likely to informal “middlemen”. Despite the preponderance of informal arrangements found in survey responses, most residents indicated keen interest in gaining legal and reliable access to electricity. Demand for legal power is strongly driven by residents’ interest in receiving higher quality connections – power that is reliable, safe, and does not damage connected appliances.

With data on appliance usage and resident income, analysis showed that transitioning to legal power was unlikely to be a major financial shock. Nonetheless, the survey indicated knowledge limitations in the community on how to limit electricity consumption, as well as potential customer difficulties that residents could face given their particular appliances or level of usage. These findings helped SRUC’s efforts hone in on the most critical issues facing the community with regards to energy efficiency and energy conservation.

Once all readyboards are installed in the community, the SRUC team will conduct a final post-project survey, using the baseline data, to assess the impact of the project on consumer behavior, attitude, socio-economic and willingness to pay indicators, and electricity consumption. The evaluation will quantify the demonstration project’s impact on the community and indicate areas for further support.

Community Engagement and Outreach Materials

Experiences shared during the technical knowledge exchange with the Brazilian utility, Rio LIGHT, as well as the information gathered during the baseline survey indicated that engagement and outreach to the Majesty Garden community and community leaders were essential to the program’s success. Before work began on the RED project, both JPS and JSIF had established relationships with the community, allowing both to assume the role of tailoring and leading outreach to the community. The SRUC team focused on suppling international best practice related to community engagement to advise JPS and JSIF on both communications strategies and outreach materials.

A resident reads through the energy efficiency and readyboard safety tips at a community meeting to kick off the installation of the readyboards in December 2016.
A resident reads through the energy efficiency and readyboard safety tips at a community meeting to kick off the installation of the readyboards in December 2016.
Deloitte

Through this lens, the SRUC team collaborated with both JPS and JSIF to develop the Community Engagement Guide. The Guide was designed to assist the reader in understanding community engagement basics and residential electricity fundamentals as well as to provide specific information on Jamaican tariff structure and the Readyboard program in Majesty Gardens. The document creates a template for providing the background, resources, and structure for effectively and efficiently engaging with community members and other community engagement stakeholders around this type of programming.

Alongside the Community Engagement Manual, the team also developed a set of Jamaica specific energy efficiency and conservation tips and techniques to share with the Majesty Gardens community. The SRUC team worked closely with JPS to develop these tips and techniques in order to help residents manage their bills and make informed purchases keeping in mind the electricity costs that accompany household appliances.

Advisory on Implementation and Installation

JPS, JSIF, UTech, and the SRUC team worked together to design, procure, and assemble the readyboards before they were installed in the Majesty Gardens community.

Electrical engineering students assemble readyboards as part of a hands-on learning session in November 2016 under the supervision of the Head of the Engineering Department, Dr. Noel Brown.
Electrical engineering students assemble readyboards as part of a hands-on learning session in November 2016 under the supervision of the Head of the Engineering Department, Dr. Noel Brown.
Deloitte

The SRUC team primarily provided conceptual guidance and research information to JPS based on similar successful projects in South Africa, Kenya and Liberia. With this support, JPS, in conjunction with the Government Electrical Inspectorate (GEI), helped establish specifications for the readyboards. An analysis was conducted of the costs of procuring a completed readyboard abroad versus assembling a board locally. The analysis found that a locally-assembled readyboard, utilizing already certified approved electrical components (switches, plugs, light fixtures etc.) wired according to the Jamaica Electrical Code and approved by the GEI, would provide a lower cost solution as well as promote employment in the area.

The SRUC team led a competitive procurement process for the materials, securing components to supply the entire Majesty Gardens community. The materials were delivered to UTech for assembly by local electrical engineering students over the course of the Fall 2016 semester.

As  each new JPS customer signs on to the program in the Majesty Gardens community, a student-built readyboard is installed with the direct support from JSIF.

Last updated: February 24, 2017

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