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Your Electricity Service Level PDF Print

Printed in the "Business Monday" newspaper on December 28, 2009

Towards the end of 2008 the Fair Trading Commission (Commission) issued Standards of Service consultation papers on electricity and telecommunications. This article will focus on the performance of the Barbados Light & Power Company Ltd. (BL&P) under the Standards of Service for the year 2008/2009.

The Commission established Guaranteed and Overall Standards of Service for the BL&P in June 2006. The eight Guaranteed Standards are criteria under which each customer that is affected by the company’s inability to meet a given target is eligible for compensation. Overall Standards assess the company’s performance on a national level and do not have a compensatory component. There are five Overall Standards.

Analysis of the Guaranteed Standards of Service compliance data from inception to present indicates that the company has attained compliance percentages in the mid eighties or higher. Four of the eight standards, GES1 (restore supply after fault on customer’s service), GES2 (restore supply after fault on distribution system), GES3a (investigation of voltage complaint, visit and correct within three working days) and GES7 (reconnection of service on settling the bill after disconnection at the meter) all achieved compliance in the upper nineties since the implementation of the standards.

GES4 (provide a simple service connection) and GES6 (connect or transfer of a service to an existing installation) fluctuated over the three monitoring periods. The 2006 to 2007 observed compliance level for GES4 was 92.8%; during the 2007 to 2008 period it increased to 95.6% but declined to 86.5% in 2008 to 2009. GES6 improved over the two-year period 2006 to 2007 and 2007 to 2008 from 98.4% to 99.3% but declined to 93.9% in the 2008 to 2009 reporting period. GES3b (investigation of voltage complaint, correct within three months) and GES5 (provide cost estimate for complex connection requiring a service visit) improved over the three-year monitoring period with compliance recorded consecutively as 83.3%, 92.3%, and 100% for GES3b and 98.8%, 99.9%, and 99.8% for GES5. The only guaranteed standard to record a decline over the combined monitoring period was GES8 (response to billing complaints). The average percentage compliance for this standard declined from 99.1% in the first reporting period to 98.7% in the second and 92.4% in 2008/2009.

The company performed well under the Overall Standards. Both OES2 (response to high/low voltage complaints) and OES4 (reconnection after payment of overdue amount) registered compliance levels above 99% over the 2006 to 2009 reporting period. OES3 (prior notice of outage) also improved from 95.7% to 99.1% to 99.3% in the three consecutive years. No claims were received for OES5 (response to written claims) for the 2006 to 2007 and 2007 to 2008 reporting periods. All claims received during the 2008 to 2009 reporting period were acknowledged within the stipulated 10 working days.

Although OES1 (frequency of meter reading) improved over the three-year period, the company still continues to fail to meet the target of 100% as set for this overall standard and the Commission has in recent time received more complaints than usual under this category. OES1 recorded compliance levels of 93.8%, 93.8% and 94.4%. The BL&P is required to read all domestic and general service meters once every two months and secondary voltage power and large power monthly. Access to meters is usually hampered by locked gates or the presence of dogs. As has been the custom, where a meter has not been read on two consecutive occasions, it is expected that the company will notify the customer in writing and seek to set up an appointment to expedite such readings. In recent times the company has reported manpower challenges that have resulted in an increase in the amount of estimated bills.

You may find further details of the standards of service performance report on the Commission’s website, www.ftc.gov.bb. For any other queries you may contact us at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it , 424-0260, or you may visit our offices at “Good Hope’, Green Hill, St. Michael.

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