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JPS, NWC pay out over $40m to customers in first quarter of 2018

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

KINGSTON, Jamaica — The Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) has disclosed that utility companies, Jamaica Public Service Company Limited (JPS) and the National Water Commission (NWC), paid out more than $40 million to their customers between January and March 2018, for service breaches.

The utilities regulator, in a release yesterday, said JPS paid out $40.9 million to $40.75 million for breaches of its Guaranteed Standards, while an additional $195,342.33 was secured as reversal of charges that were disputed by the power company's customers.

“The latter sum represented . JPS's compliance report stated that it committed a total of 20,121 breaches during the January-March period, which represents a 5 per cent increase in the number of breaches over the preceding quarter,” OUR said.

The OUR's performance report indicated that these breaches attracted compensatory payments of $40,750,371.00, all of which were paid out by way of automatic compensation. Estimated Bills, which restricts JPS from sending more than two consecutive estimates without a penalty, accounted for 90 per cent of the breaches.

The utilities regulator noted that the NWC reported that it committed 361 breaches during the review period which represents a 25 per cent reduction over the preceding quarter. These breaches had a potential pay-out of approximately $1,182,848.68 while actual payments amounted to $643,459.52, representing 54 per cent of total potential payments, which were made by way of automatic credits to the affected accounts. The remaining 46 per cent of potential payments not made, represented those breaches for which the required claim forms were not submitted by affected customers.

“For 2018 January-March the OUR's Consumer Affairs Unit (CAU) received 1,018 contacts which represents a three percent decline over the preceding quarter. Contacts relating to service interruption dropped by 22 per cent, customer service by 21 per cent, and alleged breaches of the Guaranteed Standards by 31 per cent.

“This accounted for the most significant declines when compared with the preceding period. JPS accounted for the highest number of contacts, at 346 or 34 per cent, followed by the NWC at 250 or 24 per cent,” OUR said.

Meanwhile, Cable & Wireless Jamaica Limited (Flow) and Columbus Communications (FLOW) were 142 or 14 per cent each, with 97 or 10 per cent of contacts received for Digicel. Small water providers CanCara Development Ltd, Dynamic Environmental Management Ltd (DEML) and Landmark Developers Ltd.; small telecommunications providers, Dekal Wireless and Logic One; and, 'Other' (Not Utility Provider Related) accounted for 41 or four per cent of the contacts received, OUR said.