Ja power company deemed worst

The Jamaica Public Service Company has been fingered as the most complained about utility company in Jamaica for the fifth consecutive year.

Figures from the Office of Utilities Regulation’s eighth Annual Report and Financial Statements 2004/2005 showed the light and power company once again leading the way for January to December 2004.

“Overall, JPS with a 62 per cent share of the total contacts was the utility about which consumers had the most concerns, compared to 61 per cent in the previous year,” read a section of the detailed report.

The report also revealed that, by comparison with 2003, the number of contacts about JPS increased by 638 and peaked in the months of November and December.

Most of the contacts were primarily concerned with the bills for which meter readings were taken in November 2004, which in some instances showed considerable increases in consumption when compared to prior periods.

Efforts to get a comment from JPS were unsuccessful. Late last month JPS submitted another claim to the OUR for the recovery of losses during last year’s hurricanes.

The application for $191.8 million is being reviewed by the OUR to determine the legitimacy of the claims, which may be justifiable under the Z factor.

The National Water Commis-sion was a distant second with 24 per cent of the consumer complaints. Charles Buchanan, corporate public relations manager at the NWC, said people sometimes make complaints without honestly analysing whether water consumption was too high.

And Cable and Wireless Jamaica was third on the list with 11 per cent. Mobile Service providers Digicel and Cable and Wireless accounted for a mere two per cent share of the complaints, while Gotel Communications accounted for less than one per cent of the total complaints for the year.

The report also showed that consumer complaints against all the utility companies have been on a steady increase since 2001. David Geddes, director of consumer and public affairs at the OUR, told The Gleaner that the figures show a ‘phenomenal increase’ in the number of complaints. He said it was noteworthy that such a substantial amount was attributed to the JPS.

The report highlighted that a very high portion of the complaints continues to be about billing-related issues, which accounted for some 60 per cent of all contacts.

An analysis of the reasons that motivated the consumers to contact the OUR during the year 2004 suggested that the companies’ general handling of the initial complaints is inadequate, and that attention must be paid to the quality and training of the front line customer contact personnel.