Fri | Dec 3, 2021

Utilities late payment fee unjust

Published:Tuesday | May 7, 2019 | 12:20 AM


The present arrangement for Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) Limited or National Water Commission (NWC) to levy a late payment fee on a customer is unfair to the latter.

This condition is that a connected customer’s account attracts a late-payment fee whenever the account has, at the end of its due day, an outstanding amount. This is unfair to a customer, for it applies even when the utility dispatches a bill on a date that prevents a customer from meeting the due date, for example, a date just before, on, or after the due date.

If a mere 1,000 customers fall monthly in this category, the relevant utility collects $3 million annually, and in the case of JPS customers, the Government collects $495,000 in general consumption tax. Indeed, this condition presents an opportunity for unscrupulous enrichment; hence, it must be changed.

The following conditions applied to the late-payment fee can correct the current injustice:

(1) The agreed bill delivery method must be regular mail, unless otherwise agreed.

(2) The bill postmarked must be more than seven clear days, excluding weekends and public holidays prior to its due date (a bill sent via email has date and time on the email).

In the interest of fairness, this recommendation ought to be implemented immediately.