Around 200 islanders have been wrongly told they would have their gas supply disconnected, due to a clerical error at Jersey Gas.
The company has asked its customers to disregard the disconnection notices that were wrongly sent around 11 May, and apologised for the distress it caused.
Ian Plenderleith, Group Managing Director, wrote to the affected customers a week after the letters had been issued to explain they were the result of a billing error, which meant islanders didn’t receive their usual payment reminder notices during the first three weeks in April.
“Our system showed reminders had been raised but they were not sent out to customers meaning the next phase of our billing process was then implemented in error,” he explained.
“I can confirm that all customers should disregard the notices they have received between Monday 11 May and Wednesday 13 May 2020.”
Pictured: Ian Plenderleith, Managing Director at Jersey Gas.
Mr Plenderleith said Jersey Gas have taken steps to ensure an error of this type does not arise again, following a “thorough investigation” into the incident.
“All affected customers have now been put back into the normal billing and payment cycle so do not need to take any immediate action regarding disconnection notices,” Mr Plenderleith explained.
“Our specialist customer services team continues to be on standby to take calls from any customers who wish to talk through their bills and their account and how this might affect their subsequent bills.”
“I’d like to sincerely apologise to each and every customer for the distress this will have caused,” he added.
Pictured: Jersey Gas and the Government are locked in a stand-off.
The billing error comes as Jersey Gas is still trying to secure funding from the Government after the covid-19 crisis saw its sales plummet 50% due to most commercial premises being closed.
The two parties are locked in a stand-off as the government refuses to include utilities in the co-funded payroll scheme - largely on the basis that their 'business as usual' had changed very little as a result of the pandemic - but offered alternatives such as the covid-19 business loan scheme.
However, for the company to access that, they asked for not only its accounts, but also those of its parent company, IEG.
Jersey Gas however says it is only seeking short-term funding and has provided “the same detailed financial information, including all historic financial information and forward-looking forecasts, that is required of any business."
Pictured: Jersey Gas said they had no choice but to increase prices by 6.5%.
With neither party budging, Jersey Gas said it had “no choice” but to temporarily raise prices by 6.5% for customers.
A proposal from Deputy Geoff Southern to include Jersey Gas in the scheme was rejected by the States last month, with 25 members voting against it.
Despite stating the price increase will not be reversed, Mr Plenderleith has pledged to support islanders affected by the pandemic.
“We appreciate that some of our customers may be facing financial hardship due to the current Covid-19 pandemic and we urge anyone concerned about their ongoing situation to please contact us,” he said.
“Any customers who have been materially affected by the Covid-19 pandemic will be supported by Jersey Gas.”
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