Aug 29, 2017 News
…if found to be at fault
“If we’re found to be guilty, we pay. GPL compensates customers.”
Those were the words of Public Relations Officer of the Guyana Power and Light (GPL), Shevion Sears, when questioned on the power company’s response to claims for compensation concerning household appliances
damaged as a result of power outages.
Many persons would have blamed GPL for their home appliances being damaged following power outages. In some cases, persons believe that when electricity is restored, it returns with a surge that damages the items.
However, according to GPL’s PRO, if the power company is found to be the reason for the appliances being damaged, the necessary compensation will be awarded to the customer. She explained that there is a process that must be followed before reaching that stage.
“There is a process to which customers are advised; if you feel that GPL would have been the cause of an appliance being burnt, you come in, you access one of the claim forms, you fill that form out and then you submit it, upon submission of those forms there is a process to which we will send out an investigator to determine if it really was GPL’s fault or not.”
Sears said that if the investigation proves that the GPL is not at fault, then the customer is informed. Questioned about the success rate of compensation, Sears said that it has been a very successful process.
“It’s clear, it’s user-friendly and you see the guidelines there. So on the form, when you fill out the form, we will ask for some requirements like when you bought the appliance, your receipt and that kind of thing, and once you submit all the necessary requirements, we process that claim and if we’re found to be guilty, we pay.”
Explaining further, Sears said that although there are planned and unplanned outages, there are some areas where customers experience outages due to localised faults.
“Localised faults might be a tree falling on the network or there is a trip in the system in that area.” She said that when there are such occurrences, customers are admonished to report these faults, because the company may not always know about the outages.
“So if you report it, then we will be able to say well ‘look, we checked our system, this feeder is on bar and is not out as a result of an outage but rather a localised fault.’”
Earlier this month, at a Public Utilities Commission (PUC) press conference, it was noted that there have been complaints made to the Commission regarding damage to appliances due to unstable electricity supply.
Chairwoman of the PUC, Dela Britton explained that there is a procedure with respect to customers accessing compensation.
“Of course, there has to be a complaint, then we have to do an investigation then our engineers will get involved and they have to give us a report. We’d have to actually see the actual equipment, we have to know about the equipment…Those are some of the things that have to be taken into consideration before we can say to GPL we would like our compensation.”
She said that in her short time as Chairperson and reading the responses from GPL, the company has been forthright with its credit and rebate.
Further, an engineer attached to the PUC, Nikita Somwaru, said that when a complaint reaches the level of the PUC, it means that the consumer is not satisfied with the response from the utility company.
He said that when the complaint reaches the Commission, it is handed over to the technical division and the complaint is perused. He said that if an appliance is damaged, the PUC would request GPL to hand over a system log that would contain any record of high voltage or trip that could cause damage to the specific appliance. In addition, records of other consumers in the neighbourhood that had their appliances affected would be taken into consideration.
As it relates to the value of compensation accessed by customers for the year so far, Complaints Manager, Destra Bourne said that in excess of $30M in credits would have been paid out by GPL.
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