Sunday 18 November, 2018

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

JPS paid out up tp $40.75 million for breaches of its Guaranteed Standards.

JPS paid out up tp $40.75 million for breaches of its Guaranteed Standards.

Over $40 million was paid out by the Jamaica Public Service Company Limited (JPS) and the National Water Commission (NWC) to their customers between January and March 2018, for service breaches.

The figures are contained in the latest Quarterly Performance Report, published by the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR).

JPS paid out $40.9 million to $40.75 million for breaches of its Guaranteed Standards, while $195,342 was separately secured from JPS by the OUR for their customers. The latter sum represented reversal of charges that were disputed by customers.

JPS’s compliance report stated that it committed a total of 20,121 breaches during the January-March period, which represents a five per cent increase in the number of breaches over the preceding quarter. These breaches attracted compensatory payments of $40. 7 million, 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 NWC, on the other hand 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 $1.1 million 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. Cable & Wireless Jamaica Ltd. (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.

The Quarterly Performance Report (QPR) is prepared by the Consumer Affairs Unit (CAU) of the Office of Utilities Regulation and provides the public with information and analysis about the contacts received from utility providers. The information includes: the number of customer contacts received over the review period; JPS and NWC’s performance against the Guaranteed Standards; utilities’ responsiveness to our appeals process; and the performance of the Unit against the appeals process timelines.

The QPR is intended to be a fair, reasonable and transparent report of these activities. The statistics for each reporting period is gathered from the CAU’s Customer Information Database and is reflective of the contacts received from utility consumers island-wide. These contacts are received via various channels, namely: letters, telephone, walk-in visits, e-mails, fax and social media.

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