Sat | Feb 23, 2019

JPS to update contacts of 50 per cent of customers

Published:Tuesday | January 22, 2019 | 12:12 AM

The Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) is targeting updated contact information for 50 per cent of its more than 650,000 customer base this year.

The disclosure follows a statement from the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) last Thursday in which it outlined that the country’s power and water providers, the JPS and the National Water Commission (NWC), respectively, are failing to meet standards for notifying their customers of planned service disruptions.

JPS, in a response to questions from The Gleaner yesterday, noted that last year, the company updated contact information for 221,000 customers, or 33.5 per cent of its client base, with current mobile numbers and email addresses, and is looking to bring that updated figure to at least 329,000 this year.

“This will be accomplished through a range of means, including mass-media appeal, using social-media channels, contact with the customer-care centre and customer-service offices, and contact at community meetings and other events,” said Audrey Williams, media and public relations manager at JPS.

47.7 per cent compliance

The OUR, in its release, explained that one of JPS’s overall standards requires it to notify customers at least 48 hours ahead of planned outages.

It noted, too, that for July-September 2018, JPS reported a 47.7 per cent compliance rating in meeting this standard. This also represents a 6.1 percentage-point decline over the preceding period.

Williams, however, pointed out that in 2018, the company spent approximately $25 million on outage advisories to customers and updating accounts with current contact information.

She further noted that at the start of 2018, JPS added to its radio-outage announcements by sending text messages and email notifications, in addition to outages being publicised on the company’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

Notwithstanding these efforts, Williams said the company recognises that not all customers are receiving adequate outage notification.

The OUR has since written to the utility companies asking that they provide information on the reasons for their inability to meet the agreed targets and measures being put in place to ensure future compliance.

“The proposed measures to be taken will be submitted to the OUR by Friday, January 25,” Williams said.

syranno.baines@gleanerjm.com