More than 200,000 electricity and landline telephone customers in Barbados are being provided with guaranteed standards of service from July 1.
The Fair Trading Commission (FTC) today ordered the Barbados Light & Power Company and Cable & Wireless (Barbados) Limited, otherwise known as LIME, to comply with the new standards, at least for a three-year period.
Consumers will benefit from automatic compensation under a guaranteed standard of service and an overall standard, which would be paid as a credit on their bills.
The FTC said these measures would only affect the landline service provided by LIME.
With respect to the Light & Power, the group of guaranteed standards to which automatic compensation applies will now include fault repair, voltage complaint and reconnection.
This means customers will no longer be required to make a manual claim for compensation, if the company did not meet
the prescribed target.
“For the above standards as well as the existing simple service connection and connect or transfer of service for which automatic compensation is already in place, BL&P consumers should see a credit on a subsequent bill,” stated the FTC.
There is also a new standard – billing period – being introduced. It requires the electricity company to bill, at minimum, 95 per cent of its customers for no more than 33 days of service on all issued bills.
The commission expects this will reduce the number of customers who receive bills with long billing periods.
In addition, the frequency of metre reading overall standard has ben strengthened to require the Light & Power to advise consumers when
its metre readers have been experiencing difficulty in executing their duties as a result of issues such as locked rates and unrestrained dogs.
Automatic compensation has been extended to repeated loss of service and wrongful disconnection with regards to LIME and breaches of fault repair.
The commission has also reduced the overall standards of service for LIME from seven to six, with the removal of the interactive voice response standard.
“The commission, having reviewed this matter, is now of the view that the standard dealing with customer service response time, which measures the time taken for a customer service agent to answer the customer’s call, adequately monitors the performance of the C&W call centre,” stated the FTC.