Wed | Dec 13, 2017

Utilities pay $34M to customers for breaches in June quarter

Published:Tuesday | October 3, 2017 | 3:12 PM

The island’s public utility companies paid out more than $34 million to customers for service breaches, during the April to June quarter this year, according to the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR).

The money was paid either resulting from action either taken by the OUR or as compensation for breaches of the guaranteed standards, the regulator said in a release.

As a result of action taken by the OUR, $661,528.67 was secured for utility customers during the review period.

Of that amount, the National Water Commission (NWC), at 87 per cent, accounted for the greatest share, the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS), 12 per cent, and Digicel one per cent.

The JPS compliance report on its performance on the guaranteed standards indicated that 15,999 breaches were committed during the review period, a 40 per cent decline compared to the preceding quarter, the OUR said.

Those breaches attracted compensatory payments of $32.56 million, all of which was paid out by way of automatic compensation.

The standards with the highest incidents of breaches related to estimated bills, which restricts JPS to sending more than two consecutive estimates without a penalty, and estimation of consumption, which prescribes the method to be used by JPS when calculating estimated consumption. Both standards account for approximately 96 per cent of breaches.

The NWC’s compliance report on the guaranteed standards indicated that there were 825 breaches, a 42 per cent increase over the preceding period.

Those breaches attracted a penalty of approximately $2.6 million. However, actual payments amounted to $1.02 million, representing 39 per cent of total potential payments, the OUR said.

The payments were made by way of automatic credits to the affected accounts.

The standards with the highest incidents of breaches were exceptional meter reading, meter reading, and access.

- business@gleanerjm.com