Aug 28, 2010 News
– say company reneging on commitment
Regulators of the Guyana Power and Light Inc. (GPL) say that following several complaints over disconnections and bills, they are meeting with the company to find solutions.
This was disclosed on Thursday by the Public Utilities Commission (PUC), which said that it is engaging GPL for bills distributed for July and August 2010, and the subsequent disconnection notice published in the press.
“The issue of late receipts/non receipt of bills by customers has been brought to the attention of the Commission and we intend to act in the best interest of all stakeholders to find an acceptable position for all concerned,” PUC said in a statement.
Disclosing that it has received a number of complaints from consumers, the Commission noted that it has since written the power company pointing out that while the Electricity Sector Reform Act (ESRA) 1999 says that “…the omission to dispatch bills shall not release a consumer from the responsibility for the charges for electricity…” it also places an obligation on the part of the company to issue bills.
Under the act, “…every bill shall be payable within twenty-one days of the issue of the bill…” while another section said that “a bill shall be deemed to be issued when it is posted.”
According to the utility regulators, GPL was further reminded of its commitment given at a meeting between the two parties on June 30, 2010.
“The decision was to disconnect for arrears not sooner than 29 days after the bill issue date instead of the 21-days period being used. The recent complaints received and the public notice published by the GPL seem to indicate that the GPL intends to act contrary to the commitment given at the meeting.”
The Commission said that it pointed out the difficulty consumers experience when bills arrive a few days before the ‘due date’ and are faced with disconnection – which comes with an additional cost.
“The practice of omitting the ‘billing date’ and only stating month and year in the ‘billing date’ column was also noted. The PUC has requested that the GPL inform us, among other things, on the policy with regards to the number of days after the ‘bill issue’ date that consumers are disconnected.”
PUC urged consumers to contact them for any issues that may be affecting them.
“The PUC remains committed to regulating utilities for efficient services and protecting consumers’ interest.”
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