Thu | Jan 27, 2022

JPS to pay almost $221M to customers for guaranteed standards breaches

Published:Thursday | December 2, 2021 | 1:50 PM
The OUR says the go-ahead for the compensation came after Energy Minister Daryl Vaz denied a request from JPS for a wholescale suspension of the guaranteed standards. - File photo.

The Jamaica Public Service Company Limited (JPS) is to pay approximately $220.9 million to customers for breaches of the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) Guaranteed Standards.

The breaches were committed between March 2020 and September 2021.

The OUR says the go-ahead for the compensation came after Energy Minister Daryl Vaz denied a request from JPS for a wholescale suspension of the guaranteed standards.

The OUR developed the guaranteed standards to ensure that providers are held accountable to high-quality service standards. 

According to the OUR, JPS had made the request on the basis that the continuing adverse impact of the COVID-19 pandemic presented force majeure conditions and warranted it being excused from compliance with the Guaranteed and Overall Standards under its Electricity Licence 2016.

But, Vaz, according to the OUR, indicated in a letter dated October 7, 2021, that he is upholding a previous decision to only grant a limited waiver of penalties for just two guaranteed standards.

These are EGS1 (new and simple connection to supply) for March 13 -June 30, 2020 and EGS7 (the number of consecutive estimated bills allowed) for March 2020 only, with accounts served by smart meters exempted from this waiver. 

The regulator says as a result of the energy minister's decision, JPS is mandated to pay an accumulated $220,989,262.27 to affected customers for breaches committed between March 2020 and September 2021.

The OUR says the JPS has since sought and was approved to make the compensation on a payment schedule.

JPS, in its letter to the OUR seeking approval for the schedule, cited cash flow issues exacerbated by the ongoing pandemic.

The OUR approved the payment schedule outlined in the table below after ascertaining the accuracy of the computation.

Payment Date         Compensation Period

November 2021       March 2020 – May 2020

December 2021       June 2020 – August 2020

January 2022           September 2020 – November 2020

February 2022         December 2020 – February 2021

March 2022             March 2021 – May 2021

April 2022               June 2021 – September 2021

In addition, JPS has resumed its monthly payment in November 2021to affected customers for breaches of the Guaranteed Standards committed in October 2021.

All payments are applied as credits to applicable bills. 

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