GPL willing to compensate customers for damages

Power outages

In recognition of the fact that power outages put customer appliances in jeopardy and cause financial losses, the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) is urging customers to use the mechanisms in place to claim for damages.
During a press conference on Friday, GPL Public Relations Officer Shevion Sears was asked about provisions for those with the most to lose – the customers. She explained the procedure for customers to make claims and noted that those claims will have to be investigated by the utility company.
“Even though there are planned and unplanned outages, there are some areas to which customers experience outages but it’s not because of the planned or unplanned but rather localised faults. Localised faults might be a tree falling on the network or there’s a trip in the network in that area.”
She noted that the company has encouraged customers to report all issues they are having the GPL service.
“So what we (encourage) our customers to do is to report those faults, because we may not always know about those outages. So if you report it, we will be able to say, look we checked our systems and it is not as a result of an outage but rather a localised fault.”
She noted that there is a process which customers must go through in order to claim, including filling up a form and when the form is submitted, an investigator is sent to the location in order to determine whether it was GPL’s fault.
“If you feel GPL would have been the cause of your appliance being burnt, you come in, you access one of the claim forms, you fill that form out and then you submit it,” Sears explained. “If it was GPL’s fault, then we compensate those customers. If the findings are analysed and it’s not GPL’s fault, then we inform the customer.”

It is understood that as of March 2017, there were 29 complaints from GPL customers at the level of the Public Utility Commission (PUC).
PUC’s Complaints Manager, Destra Bourne, in explaining the work the Commission does in these instances, stated that the PUC would arrange rebates for customers who would have been paying for a service that was not working for a period of time.
“Once the service has been restored, they’re entitled to some amount of rebate for the period the service would not have been working,” she had said in an interview with this publication. “In the case of GPL customers it’s in the form of rebates and in the form of credits to the account for GPL not meeting the service standards.”
She noted that they have been able to garner $1.2 million for customers, inclusive of complaints that were pending from last year.
She also encouraged customers who have been under siege from poor utility service and lack of resolution to escalate the matter to the PUC’s attention. Bourne emphasised that the process was actually a simple one.
“The procedure is quite simple. If you have a problem with one of the utility (companies) your first step is to visit the utility and make a complaint in relation to your problem. That is giving the utility the first option to deal with whatever issue you have.”
“If you are not satisfied with how they dealt with the problem of the resolution, then you can seek redress from the PUC. If the complaint has merit, we will follow that complaint up with the utility. If we notice that the utility would have made the correct decision based on the matter in front of us, we will advise you on that.”