The Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) should provide answers to queries made by the Office of Utilities Regulations (OUR) about exorbitant electricity costs by Tuesday, June 23.
The information was provided by the OUR a short while ago, and follows news that the regulator has been asked, by Energy Minister Fayval Williams, to audit the JPS. The request was made following widespread public complaints about excessive increases in customers’ bills since the COVID-19 outbreak.
The OUR, in its statement, it has received 479 complaints about JPS between April 1 and June 12 via its social media pages and through direct contacts with its Consumer Affairs Unit by calls, letters and emails.
Further, it said there are numerous complaints posted on the light and power company’s social media pages.
The OUR said that on April 21, it wrote to JPS on the matter, requesting information including:
- Whether JPS had received complaints regarding significant increases in consumption between March – April and if so, the number of complaints and areas affected
- JPS’s findings into investigations into these complaints; and
- Whether there has been an increase in the number of estimated bills for March – April compared to previous billing cycles since 2020 and the corresponding period in 2019.
The regulatory body said that in response, on May 20, JPS acknowledged, among other things, that there was a 44 per cent increase in complaints by customers of high bills and consumption between April and March, compared to the same period in 2019, with most of the complaints coming from residential customers.
This information provided by JPS gave rise to additional questions, the OUR said, adding that it again wrote to the company on June 9 for further clarification and additional information, which JPS is expected to provide by June 23.
The OUR said it continues to monitor the situation and takes note of additional complaints, including those being discussed in various media.