Wed | May 23, 2018

Utility customers reap almost $130m through OUR-led actions

Published:Friday | April 20, 2018 | 12:00 AM

Last year, utility customers benefited from payouts of $129 million as a result of breaches of the Guaranteed Standards as well as credits and compensation secured for them by the Consumer Affairs Unit (CAU) of the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) .

The OUR disclosed yesterday that the Jamaica Public Service Company Limited (JPS) and the National Water Commission (NWC) paid out approximately $127 million. Of this sum, approximately $124 million was paid by the JPS and $3.8 million by the NWC. An additional sum of $1.5 million was secured in credits and compensation for utility customers through actions taken by the CAU. The JPS and the NWC accounted for 18 per cent and 80 per cent of total credits, respectively, with the remaining two per cent being secured from C&WJ (FLOW) and Columbus Communications (Flow).

According to the OUR, for the year 2017, the JPS committed 75,571 breaches, which attracted potential compensation of approximately $151.8 million. Actual payments amounted to approximately $124 million, representing 82 per cent of total potential amounts, which was paid out through automatic compensation. The remaining 18 per cent of compensation not paid related to the few breaches for which the required claim forms were not submitted for validation.

 

NWC BREACHES

 

In 2017, the NWC committed 2,561 breaches of the Guaranteed Standards, which attracted potential compensation of approximately $8.1 million. Actual payments amounted to approximately $3.84 million, representing 47 per cent of total potential amounts, with the remaining 53 per cent not being paid as the required claim forms were not submitted.

This data is from the OUR's Quarterly Performance Report for October to December 2017, which also gave a snapshot of activities for all of 2017. The performance report is prepared by the CAU and provides the public with information and analysis about the contacts received from utility providers. A total of 1,047 contacts were received by the CAU during the 2017 October-December quarter. This represents the highest number of contacts received in any one quarter throughout calendar year 2017. With the exception of equipment damage complaints, there was a general increase in all other main complaint categories.