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