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KINGSTON — Minister of Energy and Mining, Hon. Clive Mullings, has called on the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) to cease its practice of back billing on the allegation of meter tampering.

“Complaints have been coming from the Jamaica Public Service Company  that there are many cases of tampering of meters, which we find is now resulting in persons getting astronomical bills,” Mr. Mullings said.

Speaking at a press briefing held on September 16 at the Ministry’s New Kingston offices, Mr. Mullings said there have been questions in relation to the Smart Meters and the “astronomical bills” that are being forwarded to consumers.

“We believe that since there is an investigation being conducted by the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) into the issues of billing and the Smart Meters, that with immediate effect, this be ceased until that investigation is completed,” the Minister said.

He explained that  the investigation by the OUR would provide a platform to look very carefully at  not only  the Smart Meter installation programme, but also at the allegations  of tampering of  the company’s meters.

“We hope that the OUR investigation will be completed within the time frame that they have set and that it will inform our future decisions and what has to be done in order to bring some amount of stability to the sector,” Mr. Mullings said.

The OUR recently announced that its former Director General, J. Paul Morgan, will lead the investigations into the JPS’ billing practices.

The seven-member team will also examine the recent meter changes by the JPS, as well as conduct meter inspections and audits.  Upon completion, a report is to be submitted by the OUR by October 7.

Other members of the team are: Economist, Winston Robotham; Engineers, Peter Johnson and Andrew Lewis; Consumer Affairs Analyst, Marsha Minott; Attorneys-at-Law, Shenae Riley and Wayne McGregor; and Chief Information Officer, Leighton Hamilton.

 

By Latonya Linton, JIS Reporter