Barbados’ utility regulator is giving the assurance that investigations are being carried out regarding the recent power outages, and “an appropriate action” will then be taken regarding compensation.
This comes amidst increasing calls from residents and business operators for the Barbados Light & Power Company (BL&P) to provide compensation for two consecutive days of intermittent power outages earlier this week.
Information Specialist with the Fair Trading Commission (FTC) Nekaelia Hutchinson-Holder was not in a position to say if customers would definitely be reimbursed for the break in service, or when.
However, she pointed out that there was a process that affected customers had to go through.
“Investigations are still ongoing as to the circumstances surrounding this week’s electricity outages,” said Hutchinson-Holder.
“As a result, appropriate action with regard to claims will be determined following an examination of the nature and cause of the outages,” she said.
On Monday morning around 7:29, the BL&P’s approximately 130,000 customers were left without electricity, some for as much as 15 hours.
While about 50 per cent of the power had been restored around 3 p.m. the entire island was not restored until about 11 p.m.
Again on Tuesday morning, the power went off and due to load sharing, customers then witnessed intermittent outages, which was compounded by water outages.
The BL&P blamed contaminated fuel and aging generators for the disruption in service, which took individuals and businesses by surprise.
The board of the electric utility company was asked to meet on the matter of compensation, but officials promised to speak to customers on that issue at a later date.
In a brief statement, Hutchinson-Holder told Barbados TODAY the claims process for the BL&P included the completion of the Guaranteed Standards of Service Claim form on the BL&P website.
“The form should be completed and returned to the BL&P’s customer service office at Garrison Hill, St Michael within three months of the date of the event giving rise to the claim,” she said.
“The utility must then be given 14 business days to address the claim. If the customer is not satisfied with the outcome, they may contact the Fair Trading Commission for assistance. The Standards of Service, which outline each standard and the corresponding compensation when the standard is breached, may be accessed at the Utility Regulation link at www.ftc.gov.bb. Compensation is generally given in the form of a credit on the customer’s account,” she added.
She also pointed out that in the case where an outage arises due to circumstances outside of the utility’s control, the utility company would be exempt from the standards of service requirements.