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New electricity meters are accurate, says review team

Published:Saturday | October 22, 2011 | 12:00 AM
J. Paul Morgan

THE NEW meters being installed by the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) have been given a clean bill of health by a review team set up by the Office of Utilities Regulation.

"We, in the conduct of this investigation, have found absolutely no evidence to suggest or even substantiate any claim that the electronic meters that are being installed by the JPS are inaccurate," J. Paul Morgan, head of the review team, said.

Morgan's team tested 40 meters - 20 electronic and 20 electromechanical - and concluded that the new meters being installed by the JPS were accurate.

Morgan said 17 per cent of the electromechanical meters failed the accuracy test.

"We have come to the conclusion that about 18 per cent of the accounts where meters have been changed, there is going to be some problems associated with those accounts," he said.

The JPS has embarked on a programme to replace some 17,000 meters and Morgan said at least 3,000 customers, who have had their meter changed, may have problems with bills they receive. He said one reason for this is that the old meters may have been under-recording.

Time to review policy

Meanwhile, on the matter of back-billing, Morgan said the time has come for a review of the policy which allows for this. He noted that the JPS has been enforcing a 10-year-old policy that needs to be reviewed.

Morgan's team also agreed that the back-billing policy of the utility needs to be radically revised.

"There is absolutely no basis on which they can establish how long ... the customer has been receiving and benefiting from that service," he said.

"No matter how you cut it, there is an allegation of some sort of wrongdoing and the company then tries to apply the full force of the provisions, in that, they can recover for the statutory period of six years.

"They don't have the means to apply the appropriate test to prove that the individual has been using the service for that period."