OUR reports increased Guaranteed Standards breaches for JPS, NWC

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OUR reports increased Guaranteed Standards breaches for JPS, NWC

Sunday, September 20, 2020

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — The Jamaica Public Service (JPS) and the National Water Commission (NWC) have recorded increases in the number of breaches of their Guaranteed Standards during the 2020 April-June quarter.

This is according to the Office of Utilities Regulation's (OUR) recently released Quarterly Performance Report for the period.

The OUR said JPS' compliance report on its Guaranteed Standards' performance indicated that 15,969 breaches were committed during the current period, which represents an increase of 22 per cent. These breaches, the body said, attracted potential compensatory payments of approximately $35 million.

However, it said no compensation was made to their customers as the JPS advised that it is still awaiting the response from the Ministry of Science, Energy and Technology regarding its request to suspend the Guaranteed Standards due to the effects on its operations of the COVID‐19 pandemic and measures instituted by the government under the Disaster Risk Management Act to contain contagion.

The OUR noted that estimated bills, connections to supply, and reconnections accounted for the highest incidents of breaches for JPS. It said these breaches of the Guaranteed Standards accounted for approximately 99 per cent of breaches and compensatory payments, respectively.

Meanwhile, the NWC's Guaranteed Standards compliance report indicated that 753 breaches were committed during the current quarter, which represented a 35 per cent increase.

The OUR said these breaches had a potential pay-out of approximately $2.6 million, while actual payments were approximately $216,000. It said the actual payments represented eight per cent of total potential payments and were made by way of automatic credits to the affected accounts. The remaining 92 per cent of potential payments not made, represented those breaches for which the required claim forms were not submitted for validation, the body explained.

The OUR noted further that the standards with the highest incidents of breaches for the NWC were those relating to estimated bills, meter installation, and complaints investigation, which represented 78 per cent of total breaches.

In addition to sums paid out for breaches of the Guaranteed Standards, the regulatory body said just over $862,000 was secured for utility customers through the intervention of OUR's Consumer Affairs Unit.

Of this sum, it said the NWC paid out the highest share of $817,000 (95 per cent); JPS and Cable and Wireless each account for two per cent; with FLOW accounting for the remaining one per cent of credits/compensation to customers.

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