Caribbean Utilities Company claims that Morritt Properties Cayman owes it nearly $1.4 million due to a billing error that went unnoticed for a decade, according to a statement of claim filed in the Grand Court of the Cayman Islands earlier this month.
The error appears to be similar to a mistake that resulted in CUC underbilling Water Authority-Cayman by nearly $500,000 during a period of seven years. CUC discovered the errors – involving incorrect billing multipliers entered by CUC – in Morritt and Water Authority billing around the same time in May 2011.
50 per cent off
According to CUC’s recent Grand Court claim against Morritt, the billing error commenced when an electricity meter was installed at the Morritt property in East End on 23 June, 2001.
“For commercial service installations where the electric current demanded by the service is greater than can practically be flowed through a meter, CUC uses interposing current transformers to reduce the current by a known ratio to a practical level that can be flowed through the meter,” according to the filing by Appleby (Cayman) Ltd.
The “billing multiplier” is the corresponding number by which the meter reading is multiplied in order to arrive at the actual consumption of electricity in kilowatt hours.
“At the time of the installation of [the Morritt meter], the relevant customer service agent in error entered a billing multiplier of 40 instead of the correct billing multiplier of 80,” according to CUC’s claim.
The billing multiplier error was repeated when the meter was replaced in November 2001.
“As a direct result of the billing multiplier for the meters being entered incorrectly, the meters incorrectly recorded the quantum of electricity supplied to and used at the premises between June 2001 and April 2011 by a factor of 2.
“Accordingly, CUC invoiced Morritt and Morritt paid only 50 per cent of the kilowatt hours supplied to and used at the premises on a monthly basis over this period”, according to the claim.
CUC identified and corrected the error in May 2011. The electricity provider notified Morritt of the error in June 2011, and presented it an invoice for $1,376,190.76 in August 2011.
“Morritt has asserted that it is not liable to pay, and has not paid” for any electricity other than what was billed under the original invoices, according to the claim.
In addition to the $1.4 million, CUC is also seeking interest on the backpayments and legal costs.
Water Authority not to be hurried
In June, the Caymanian Compass reported that according to Water Authority records, board members said in April they would not be hurried into making a decision over paying the bill.
According to the authority’s board minutes, “Although there is no dispute whether or not the authority used the electricity, the authority’s position is that there should be some limitation on how far back CUC can go to correct their errors”.
CUC had offered the authority the chance to pay $417,997 (representing the outstanding amount from April 2006 to April 2011) in 36 monthly instalments.