Utility companies need to get ahead of the disaster

Letters to the Editor

Utility companies need to get ahead of the disaster

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

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Dear Editor,

It is funny how large corporations are under no obligation to do anything in this national crisis.

With the entertainment industry completely shut down and with other industries having taken a hit as well – namely wedding planners, caterers, decorators, and vendors – a host of people have lost their income. But creditors, debt collectors, and entities such as Jamaica Public Service, Digicel, and Flow, have not seen the need to offer any assistance to the general public in such a downturn.

What will it take for them to see that this will start affecting them soon if they aren't at the forefront of what is sure to be a major recession in the country and the global economy? No one wants to miss a payment on a bill, but when it becomes a choice between living, eating, or just entertaining the kids, Digicel and Flow home entertainment will become the first casualties sooner or later and will see a decline in revenues from missed payments and overall customer unsatisfactory dealings with late fees added should a payment be late.

National Water Commission (NWC) has stepped forward to announce no disconnections during the COVID-19 outbreak, but maybe it is because the health of the nation depends on a steady water supply in its fight against the virus. Still I see it as a commendable gesture, even if it was on direct intervention by the Government of Jamaica.

Still the other entities have turned a blind eye.

They seem not to realise that no category of worker will be spared. Everyone, including maids, gardeners, daycare operators, gym instructors, car care people, highway workers, and the list goes on, will be affected financially under the call of the Government of Jamaica to stay home.

What would the “Big 3'' prefer? Late and/or discounted payments which guarantee more customers keeping on top of their bills and keep you more stable, or missed payments and a pool of clients who will have to make a choice as to what gets priority, food or bills?

I would suggest those companies take a strong look at the situation, because if it isn't affecting them now, it will in the months to come, and it would be wise to get in front of this in some way to avert a looming disaster.

Orville Spence

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