In May of this year, I wrote of an experience I have been having with the Jamaica Public Service (JPS) billing process. I mentioned that in December of last year, due to an oversight by the bearer who collects my mails from my Post Office Box, I had paid the bill of a relative who also uses that facility. Caught unaware, after two weeks had elapsed my electricity supply was disconnected. A friend of mine volunteered to pay the amount of $7000 (including re-connection fee) on line, in an effort to expedite the process of re-connection.
My electricity bills are due on the 11th day of each month, and my telephone land line bill on the second, and I developed the habit over time to pay my utility bills on or about the second day of each month.
By that practice, when the JPS company with the complicity of our (very watchful and customer protective O.U.R.?) initiated the dastardly practice of a levy or fine of $250 plus $41.50 GCT for late bill payments I benefitted from that habit.
My April bill (or so I presumed) arrived and was promptly paid. Lo and behold, when I received the May bill, there was a fine for late payment!! Astounded by that occurrence, I checked the billing date. The bill that was paid (presumably for April) bore a March eleven due date. So I resorted to calling the company monthly for the correct amount due.
I paid as instructed by the company each month, only to find myself being billed for late payments in May, June, July and August. Comes September, I attempted to have that procedure sorted out. On calling the company for an explanation, the service provider informed me that I had accumulated an unpaid balance of bit over $2000 and that accounted for the situation.
I protested that I had been paying each month precisely the amount the company informed me was due; so, how come? It was irreverently pointed out that the company’s position was, that there was a balance of $2000 and until that was settled the situation remained. I paid the company their pound of flesh. Take note reader!! There was no disconnection!! Why/ Why7??
Last week, I tuned in to a call-in program only to hear several callers complaining, that in recent times their bills have suddenly started to arrive late, and they were subjected to late payment fines due to no fault of their own. Which, inevitably invites the question: is that action of bill lateness deliberate?
Not many of JPS’s customers have an on-line payment or communication facility or capacity. So, poor pensioners or old folks like me, who are not into the new fad of banking or devious money payments by any of the various methods now available, said to be for the convenience of customer- service, but in reality is digging out the eyes of the poor or unwary, have to suffer gladly the cruel machinations of the greedy.