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CUSTOMER SERVICES
 
Customer Rights & Obligations
Customer Complaints Handling Procedure
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Customer Rights & Obligations

 

Who Is A Customer?

There are several perspectives from which the word ‘customer’ may be defined. According to the Lesotho Electricity and Water Authority (LEWA) regulatory documents a customer as any person supplied or requiring to be supplied with electricity and urban water and sewerage services at any premises in Lesotho by a licensed entity, but shall not include an authorised electricity and urban water and sewerage services operator in his capacity as such. LEWA therefore recognises the importance of customers as one of the stakeholders in regulatory processes To be able to fully participate in regulation of services, customers must know their rights

Which Rights Does a Customer Have?

There are eight several universal rights of customers. In this section only five are outlined briefly and they have been applied to the case of electricity and urban water and sewerage sector customers.

(i) Right to Safety

A Customer has the right to be protected against services which may be injurious to health and life. A customer should be conscious of this so that he/she takes precautions to avert danger either to himself, other persons and his or her property. If an injury is caused to a customer in spite of them taking precautionary measures, he or she has the right to lodge a complaint against the service provider.

(ii) Right to be informed

A Customer has the right of access to information on matters related to electricity urban water and sewerage services. He / she also has the right to demand from Licencees (such as Lesotho Electricity Company or Water and Sewerage Company), and LEWA the rules and procedures for redress of their grievances. A Customer has the right to be informed about quality and standard of products or services and, where necessary, be informed about safety precautions to be taken while utilising the same to avoid injury or loss.

(iii) Right to be Heard

A Customer has the right to be consulted when decisions and policies affecting them are made. For example, when LEWA determines electricity, urban water and sewerage tariffs, it has solicits the views of the customers. With regard to service provision customers should be consulted when service providers offer services to them.

(iv) Right to seek Redress

If and when any customer has a complaint or grievance including, but not limited to, getting poor quality of service or lack of regular supply of services or if he/she has suffered loss or injury due to negligence on the part of the service provider, he/she has the right to seek redress. A customer should be assured that his /her complaint would receive due attention. A customer is entitled to a relief depending on the complaint or grievance. That redress should address his or her complaint within the service provision of the Licensee.

(v) Right to Customer Education

Customer awareness and education are essential for transparent, consistent, accountable and predictable regulation. Therefore a customer should be informed and educated about the relevant laws/ procedures/ rules in the supply / distribution of electricity and urban water and sewerage services. A customer should also be empowered to know how he/she can protect his/her own interests and the procedures to be followed while making complaints to service providers such as LEC, WASCO or the Authority. The channels that can be used in customer education include pamphlets, journals, flyers, billboards, radio and television programs. .

It must be mentioned that customers also have responsibilities,-a few of which are outlined below. The notion that a customer has rights is based on the principle that there cannot be rights without responsibilities .

Which Responsibilities Does an Electricity/ Water and Sewerage  Services Customer Have?

There are responsibilities that a customer has which are outlined below.
(i) Responsibility of Self-help

It is always desirable that a customer should not depend totally on the service provider for information. A Customer is expected to act in a responsible manner to protect himself/ herself. An informed customer can always take care of his/her interests more than anyone else. It is always better to be on alert rather than getting a remedy after suffering any injury.
 
(ii) Responsibility of Proof of Transaction

A customer may complain about unfair fees charged by the service provider or any other transactions made between the customer and a service provider. However, he/ she must be able to provide proof of all documentation. This is important to enable him or her to get assistance based on the evidence.

(iii) Responsibility of Proper Claims

A Customer should bear in mind that in making complaints and or claiming relief for loss or injury, he / she should not make unreasonable claims for no good or valid reasons. This is considered an irresponsible act and should be avoided.

(iv) Responsibility of Proper Use of Service

This responsibility is corollary to the need to practice economic and sustainable use of electricity and water. A customer must not only consider himself/herself in the use of electricity and water but must bear other users in mind. A Customer should utilise the services provided to him /her responsibly, with all precaution. He/ she should be conscious of some other responsibilities when utilising the service provided. For example, he/ she should not tamper with electricity/water meters or service provider installations. Tampering with electricity may result in an outage which may affect nearby residence, property, and other important possessions.

(v) Responsibility for payment of services

In line with the right to be served with electricity and water and sewerage services is the customers’ responsibility to pay for the services offered to him/her. ‘No service no pay’ and , ‘no pay no service’, maxim applies. Therefore, a customer should always pay for services offered to him or her on time. Even where there are disagreements a customer should pay for services whilst laying or pursuing a complaint. This enables the customer to claim a refund if he/ she is found to have been unfairly charged by a service provider. .

A Customer should remember that he or she can only exercise rights only when he/ she is willing to fulfill his or her responsibilities .

 
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