The Public Utilities Commission (PUC) yesterday began hearing a request by the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company (GTT) to review the terms of the PUC Order requiring the company to install 1,000 landlines per quarter and to remedy the timeframe of its fault repairs.
At the conclusion of the lengthy hearing, Chairwoman of the PUC Della Britton adjourned the proceedings until next Wednesday, on the grounds that not enough information was provided by the telecommunications company to assist the Commission with a judgment.
The PUC had recently approved an application by GTT for an increase in rates for its landline service with the condition that it submit detailed quarterly reports of progress showing the number of new services rolled out, inclusive of rural areas and which should not be less than 1,000 lines per quarter and may include up to 25% re-issued lines.
Additionally, the PUC had stated that it found that GTT had been tardy in its response time and remedial actions with respect to fault reporting. As a result, it requested a quarterly report from the date the new rates take effect showing the details of the average time taken to resolve consumers’ complaints, both residential and business, and for the company to determine a daily compensatory credit for consumers that will be contingent on its failure to comply.
The PUC had also explained that its basis for requesting that 1,000 lines be rolled out to customers was due to a report that claimed that there were some 19,000 outstanding applications for landlines, which the Commission said was an unacceptable position.
However, GTT, whose representatives included CEO Justin Nedd, stated yesterday that the figure was incorrect and that only some 16,000 outstanding applications existed. However, out of the 16,000, a large sum could not be fulfilled since they were in areas the company is not serving as yet. It was also noted that out of the 16,000, only about 8,000 applicants live in areas where service can be provided, however, there are other factors such as duplicate and dormant applications.
Of the 8,000 unserved applicants, the company pointed out that it has 1,170 applicants who have been approved for service but have not paid their fees and 1,770 applicants who have paid for their service but are waiting on installation.
As a result, GTT is seeking to have the PUC order amended to require the installation of 250 lines per quarter.
With respect to its response rate to faults, the company explained that it has started a task force and while it has had some 8,000 reports of faults countrywide, it has been able to reduce the number by some 2,000 during the last month.
However, when questioned on the efficiency of the task force in the hinterland and rural areas, Nedd explained that the information would be provided at a later date.
The company has up to September 12 to supply the Commission with the relevant documents that were requested before the hearing next Wednesday, when a decision is expected to be made.