Decrease in complaints to the OUR in the third quarter of 2021
The Quarterly Performance Report (QPR) published by the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) for the period July 2021 – September 2021 showed a 23% drop in the number of complaints received by the OUR.
Data in the report revealed that the largest drops were seen in the Disconnection (-42%), Billing (-33%) and Terms of Service (-14%) complaint categories.
It was then that the service disruption complaint category experienced the largest increase of 63% from the previous period.
Of the 1,173 complaints received during the period, billing issues, at 43% of the number of contacts received, continued to be the main reason utility consumers contacted the Consumer Affairs Unit (CAU) of the OUR.
The Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) and the National Water Commission (NWC) with 253 (22%) and 181 (15%) contacts, respectively, accounted for the most billing-related questions. These issues included high consumption, disputed charges, adjustments to customer accounts and estimated billing.
Contacts for downtime increased 11 percentage points, to 20% of contacts received, from the previous quarter.
Columbus Communications (Flow) and JPS with 96 (8%) and 93 (8%), respectively, accounted for the highest number of linked contacts. Cable and Wireless Jamaica Limited represented 85 (3%) contacts, with Digicel Jamaica Limited and NWC sharing the remaining 1%.
During the quarter, JPS and NWC posted mixed performances against guaranteed standards; the former register an increase in complaints and the latter a decrease.
JPS’s compliance report on its Guaranteed Standards performance indicated that 14,960 violations were committed during the July 2021 to September 2021 quarter, which is a 13% increase from the previous period. These breaches resulted in compensation payments of approximately $ 33.85 million.
However, no compensatory payment was made for the defaults, as during the period, JPS was still awaiting the decision of the Minister of Science, Energy and Technology on its request for force majeure relief. guaranteed standards.
The request was made on the grounds that the island had been designated a disaster area due to the impact of Covid-19 since March 2020. The Minister made a final decision in October on the matter, which resulted in the resumption of payments in November for breach of JPS guaranteed standards.
Estimate Invoices (which prevents JPS from sending more than two consecutive estimates without penalty), Reconnect (which requires JPS to restore supply within 24 hours of payment of overdue amounts), and Connect to Supply (which prescribes the time within which JPS must make a simple connection) accounted for 99% of the standards that were violated by JPS.