Jamaica’s utility companies pay out more than $34 million in breaches last quarter

Utility companies in Jamaica paid out more than J$34 million for service breaches over the period July to September of this year.

The Jamaica Public Service Company paid out $33.4 million in breaches over the quarter.

Most of that sum was paid out by electricity provider, the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS), which gave compensation amounting to J$33.4 million during the three-month timeframe; the next largest sum was paid by National Water Commission at $464,760. Those breaches of the Guaranteed Standards were pursued by the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) on the behalf of affected customers. 

An additional $227,432 was secured by the Consumer Affairs Commission, through action taken by the unit on behalf of customers, a unit of the OUR which published the data in its 2019 July – September Quarterly Performance Report. Of that amount, JPS accounted for the highest share of 74%, while Columbus Communications (Flow) and C&WJ accounted for 16% and 10% respectively.

Most of the National Water Commission’s breaches were related to access and meter installation and meter reading.

In its compliance report on its Guaranteed Standards performance, the JPS indicated that 16,261 breaches were committed, representing a five per cent decrease when compared to the prior quarter.

The breaches accounted for the $33.4 million which was all made payable through automatic compensation.

The Guaranteed Standards regarding: Estimated Bills (which restricts JPS from sending more than two consecutive estimates without a penalty); Connection to Supply (which prescribes the time within which JPS is to make a simple connection); and Reconnection (which requires that JPS restores supply within 24 hours of payment of overdue amounts) accounted for approximately 99 per cent of breaches and payments.

FLOW accounted for 16 per cent of the pay-outs collected by the Consumer Affairs Commission.

The NWC’s compliance report for the quarter indicated that its pay-outs on breaches of its Guaranteed Standards were primarily for: Access (which requires that new service connections are made within 10 working days); Meter Installation (which stipulates that meters should be installed within 30 working days upon request) and Meter Reading (which stipulates that meters are to be repaired or replaced within 20 working days of identified or reported defects). These three standards represented 79 per cent of the total 659 breaches and 78 per cent of potential payments.

The number of breaches by the NWC was up by 70 per cent over the previous quarter.