GTT’s request for increase in landline charges further delayed
By Mark Murray
GTT’s request for the company to increase charges for landline services which is being heard before the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) is far from over, as the hearing was further delayed today (Monday January 16, 2017).
After years of back and forth the PUC is yet to decide on an approval for GTT to increase charges on its landline services.
Today, a team which included the CEO of GTT; the company which holds the current monopoly for landline service appeared once more before the PUC.
During the public hearing the Chair of the four-member Commission was forced to adjourn the sitting due to the lack of clarity on GTT’s financial position.
Commissioner,Maurice Solomon said all the body wanted is for GTT to separate totally and in detail the revenue and expenses of the landline from the other areas matching back the audited financial statement.
“Now what we got on Friday (13th January, 2017) was a very summarized version of revenue and expenses, no details at all and this is what, you know what the Commissioners wanted and in addition to that I assumed the assets would be separated, so that the rate of return could be applied to each segment of the business, the landline and the others” Solomon said.
GTT’s consultant Gene Evelyn continued to tout that the increase is long overdue and even proposed that the body approve temporary rates until the public hearing is completed, but that suggestion was dismissed by the Chair.
Evelyn told the Commission, “we have answered four memorandum from the GCA, we have answered every question put to us by this Commission, we have had breakout sessions, how is it that at this eleventh hour?, three years later, three years after the filing, we are still struggling over minor questions, what then are we to do.”
A frustrated Chief Executive Officer, Justin Nedd expressed concern about the delay and cost associated with GTT providing the body with necessary information.
“We provided you with our financial statements, you’ve got the models, you’ve got access to our analysts, you’ve got all the traffic information, you would see that the traffic on local and international calls is reducing, I am really at a lost on what the expectation is” Nedd told the Commission.
GTT’s application was filed with the Commission on the grounds that the company’s income rate of returns has fallen below 15 percent and with landline increase that number can be maintained.
A date for the continuation or conclusion of the public hearing was not decided until the Commissioners are clear on all documentations relating to the telephone company’s request.
Meanwhile, the Guyana Consumers Association (GCA) still questions GTT’s claim and is calling for a forensic audit of the company’s accounts so as to break the deadlock.