OUR extends deadline for jingle competition

OUR extends deadline for jingle competition

Saturday, February 20, 2021

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THE Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) has extended the deadline for its Guaranteed Standards (GS) Jingle Competition to Friday, February 26.

The competition aims to raise awareness about the guaranteed standards established for the utility service providers, the Jamaica Public Service (JPS) and National Water Commission (NWC).

Guaranteed standards are minimum service-level agreements between the OUR and the utility companies to ensure value to customers. A breach of the guaranteed standards results in a compensatory payment to the affected customer/account.

Public affairs specialist at the OUR, Elizabeth Bennett Marsh, speaking with JIS News this week, said the guaranteed standards have been around for many years. “We developed basic service standards, to which we want customers to hold these two utility companies accountable. Although these guaranteed standards have been in place for quite a few years, we recognise that not many persons are aware of them,” she said.

“The last national survey we did in 2019 we asked, 'How much do you know about the guaranteed standards for JPS and NWC?' We recognised that 44 per cent of respondents knew little to nothing about the JPS standards and 46 per cent of respondents knew little to nothing about the NWC guaranteed standards. We developed it for customers and so we want them to really be aware of it,” Bennett Marsh added.

The competition comprises two categories — an open category for Jamaicans 20 years and older and a student category open to students aged 12 years and older. The deadline was extended to facilitate entrants in the student category.

“When we launched in November last year, students were excited about it, especially at the secondary level, because the student category is from 12 upwards, as long as you are from a recognised institution or from a music club. Otherwise, persons can enter the open category. We recognised that students would have had the December break and when they came back in January, quite a few of them contacted us and asked if there was a possibility for an extension,” Bennett Marsh said.

“We didn't plan to extend it, but then we also took into consideration the fact that virtual learning is different from what a lot of students are used to. So, music teachers, for example, would have a challenge just getting some students on board and even those who are interested, just getting them in a state of preparedness. It was against that background, including assessing the situation with COVID-19, that we made the decision to give them a month extra, although quite a number of entries have come in already,” she added.

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