Last Wednesday, after 16:00 hrs, an externally contracted disconnection crew was involved in a physical altercation with a Guyana Power Light (GPL) Inc. customer residing at Goed Fortuin, West Bank Demerara.
According to a release yesterday from the GPL, the disconnection crew, which is attached to Noel’s Electrical, was at the time conducting disconnection and reconnection services on behalf of the GPL. The matter involving the disconnection crew and the customer has its origins in the execution of the crew’s duties in accordance with standard operating procedures.
The account from which the problem stemmed, had an outstanding balance for April’s billing period, which remained outstanding as of the May 8, 2018 due date, the GPL release said. A grace period of fourteen (14) days beyond this due date was extended to this customer and a disconnection order was subsequently generated on the fifteenth day, Wednesday, May 23 and dispatched to the disconnection crew, as no payments had been recorded within the grace period. According to the GPL statement, the account was disconnected for nonpayment of the April balance, last Wednesday. Additionally, during the afternoon of the said day, a payment was made on the account. The amount tendered liquidated the outstanding balance and the reconnection fee. The account was subsequently reconnected on Friday, May, 25 in keeping with the company’s Customer Service Standards regarding reconnections. Stabroek News in its Monday edition had reported that forty-eight-year-old Collin Williams of Goed Fortuin had been assaulted by two members of a GPL disconnection crew and was hospitalized at the West Demerara Regional Hospital.
The incident had occurred after Williams had returned home after paying his GPL bill, only to discover that the electricity supply had been disconnected. He approached the disconnection crew who was still nearby, to query why his service had been cut off, despite having paid the bill. There was an exchange of words, following which Williams was assaulted and had to be hospitalized.
The matter was reported to the police who confirmed with this publication that an investigation was in progress.
The GPL, in its statement yesterday, assured the general public that it does not condone violence in any form against their customers, staff and contractors. “Conflict resolution strategies play an integral role in our service delivery and we will endeavour to better equip our staff and contractors with the tools necessary to avoid incidents, such as the one discussed in this release,” the statement said.
An official police report has since been filed on the physical incident involving the Disconnection Crew and the customer, and this matter remains with the La Grange Police Station. In addition, both Noel’s Electrical and GPL Inc. are assisting with this investigation, the GPL media release concluded.