Tuesday 18 September, 2018

BWA customers can get compensation for poor service

The FTC has outlined Standards of Service to come on stream at the Barbados Water Authority (BWA).

The FTC has outlined Standards of Service to come on stream at the Barbados Water Authority (BWA).

The Fair Trading Commission (FTC) on Wednesday has announced its Decision on the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) Standards of Service 2018-2021.

In a release issued on Wednesday, the BWA said nine Guaranteed Standards and 12 Overall Standards comprise these Standards of Service, which establish minimum, mandatory levels of service for the BWA.

These Standards will take effect from January 1, 2018. 

The FTC says this is to give the BWA time to sensitise its customers and prepare its operating systems for the administration of the Standards of Service.

Under Guaranteed Standards:

- Customers complaints must be acknowledged within five working days and investigation and findings provided within 15 working days of receipt of the complaint. Breach of this Standard would result in a $15 credit to the bill of a residential customer and $30 to a commercial customer.

- For the reconnection of service after payment of an overdue amount and reconnection fee, service must be restored within 24 hours of the customer’s payment at BWA’s office. If service is not restored within the established timeframe, the BWA must provide a $20 credit to a residential customer and $40 to a commercial customer.

Under the Overall Standards:

- Meter Reading – 100 per cent of accessible meters should be read monthly.

- Reinstatement of Property – 95 per cent of instances, temporary reinstatement of roads, walkways, and other property damaged due to repairs or installations shall occur at the end of work each day. 

This category of standards measures the BWA’s efficiency in delivery of service on a national level.

While there is no compensation to the consumer for breaches of Overall Standards, where there is a continuous failure to attain a target, the FTC will require an explanation from the BWA.

If the BWA continues to be non-compliant, the FTC reserves the right to impose a penalty pursuant to Section 38(c) of the Utilities Regulation Act, CAP 282.

The FTC decision further stipulated that the BWA must publicise its compensation policy for failure to attain a Guaranteed Standard of Service, e.g. on its website, through its Customer Service Representatives and on its bills. 

The BWA is also required to report to the FTC, on a quarterly and annual basis, its performance under these Standards of Service.

Copies of the Decision, which provides details on the individual BWA Standards of Service, may be accessed online in the Decisions & Orders link at www.ftc.gov.bb or obtained from the Fair Trading Commission, 2nd Floor, Cedar Court, Monday to Friday, between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.