Unplanned outages are unexpected interruptions in the flow of electricity. These pose the greatest inconvenience because no one can prepare for them.
Unplanned outages can be caused by:
- Lightning strikes.
Some sections of Jamaica are naturally prone to lightning, which can cause prolonged electricity disruptions when power lines are struck. Lightning can also cause severe damage to substations or other critical infrastructure. JPS has implemented a number of protective measures to help minimize the impact of lightning on the system; however one hundred percent protection is not guaranteed.
- Overgrown Vegetation.
Dense and fast-growing vegetation such as bamboo can sometimes obstruct power lines and cause electricity outages. We conduct regular trimming activities in densely vegetated areas throughout the year to minimize outages caused by overgrown shrubs and trees.
- Motor Vehicle Accidents.
Motor Vehicle accidents which involve damage to electricity poles and distribution and transmission (TD) lines will cause extended power outages. In recent years JPS has been replacing wooden poles with concrete poles, which are better able to withstand the impact of most motor vehicle accidents. This has helped to reduce the number of outages that are caused in this way. Plus, our response technicians are always quick on the scene to conduct repairs and restore electricity supply in the shortest possible time.
Short-circuit conditions can develop when large birds fly between, or become entangled with, power lines. It is the droppings, however, of the smaller birds that often wreak havoc on substations. When bird droppings cover insulators and rain or other atmospheric moisture follows, a phenomenon known as 'flashing' occurs, sometimes resulting in widespread outages. Although we use high voltage electrical tape to cover the power lines, place covers on insulators in the substations, and clean the equipment regularly, some of vulnerability to flashing remains.
- Impact of the sea. Jamaica is surrounded by the sea; and in some areas where the power system is in close proximity to the sea, salty sea spray corrodes electrical equipment and this sometimes leads to power outages. Regular maintenance of these lines helps to reduce the number of power outages that are caused in this way.