he Regulated Industries Commission (RIC) said more than $1.3 million in rebates been paid to customers between January and June 2012. In its Quarterly Complaints report, the RIC said, for the period January and March 2012, $787,392 in rebates were paid to customers compared to April and June 2012, where $580,472 was awarded. Though the total compensation awarded to customers was greater in the first quarter, the most number of complaints received was in April 2012.
How is a complaint made? On its Web site, the RIC outlined the process.
How to file a complaint
A guide for electricity and water consumers
The RIC is an independent consumer-oriented body concerned with protecting consumers’ interests.
As part of its mandate, the RIC states it empowers consumers with the knowledge and confidence needed to be able to resolve complaints directly with the service providers: the T&T Electricity Commission and the Water and Sewerage Authority.
The RIC said it provides free impartial information and advice to all electricity and water consumers and acts as a neutral third party or mediator to those who have been unable to obtain redress or those who are dissatisfied with the decision of a service provider.
Who to contact first?
The RIC said consumers have the right to obtain a high standard of service quality from the utility companies. A complaint must first be made with the service provider, which has the opportunity to resolve the problem. However, if a service provider fails to resolve the problem, or if the consumer is dissatisfied with the response, the RIC can then be contacted for further assistance.
How to resolve problems with a service provider?
A consumer must first contact a service provider and explain they wish to make a complaint. This can be done in a number of ways:
i. In writing
ii. In person
iii. By telephone
iv. By e-mail
All service providers have clear procedures for dealing with complaints:
If a consumer is complaining by phone:
1. Make a note of what you want to say before you call
2. Be clear about how you want the problem to be sorted out
3. Have any relevant documents on hand: bills or letters from the service provider
4. Have a notebook ready and write down the name of the person you speak to, the date and time of day and what was said
5. If you complain by phone, you should try to follow up your call with a letter, especially if your complaint is serious
If you are complaining by letter or e-mail or via the Internet:
1. Call your service provider and find out who you should address your complaint to
2. Ensure you explain the problem fully in your letter including key dates and times of the incidents
3. Enclose copies of evidence that support your complaint, such as receipts, letters, bills and photos, if possible
4. Include your name, address and account number in your letter, so that your service provider can respond to you
5. Include a telephone number, if possible, so that your service provider can contact you for further information if required
When making a complaint:
1. Make copies of any document you send to your service provider. DO NOT send originals
2. Take meter readings, particularly if your complaint concerns your billing or supply, make a note of the date the readings were taken
3. Make notes of who you have spoken, or written to, and when, so that you can refer to them
4. Keep copies of correspondence sent to you by your service provider so that you can refer to them
How to write a letter of complaint
In addition to information shared before, when writing a complaint letter, there are some other basic guidelines the consumer needs to follow:
i. State the problem and provide information with respect to date, time, bill account number, etc.
ii. Explain the problem specifically, for example, “I was billed the wrong amount.”
iii. Detail personal inconvenience experienced. For instance, injury, expense, distress, etc.
iv. Identify the specific action you want, eg, credit, compensation, etc.