The BVI Electricity Corporation (BVIEC) has refuted accusations by BVI Cable TV that claimed the electricity company was using discriminatory industry practices against the cable company.
In a media statement this week, BVI Cable TV had said the BVIEC was charging to use their utility poles and was doing so at rates “far exceeding what another local telecommunications provider is being charged”.
The BVIEC has fired back with a media statement of its own and described BVI Cable TV’s claim as misleading. The BVIEC said they actually offered BVI Cable TV the same commercial terms as the other telecoms company, FLOW.
“This new arrangement was accepted by FLOW — which was the entity with the second-largest share of the pole infrastructure before the hurricanes … They executed an agreement for attachment to BVIEC’s poles in July 2018,” the BVIEC said in their media statement on Thursday, August 15.
BVIEC also said they were forced to take the matter to the court because “it became apparent that BVI Cable TV was not negotiating in good faith”.
The utility company also said BVI Cable TV had accessed the BVIEC’s poles without its permission.
“Further and more importantly, some of their (BVI Cable TV) reckless attachments were creating safety risks to both the public and BVIEC’s personnel. The Board of Directors of BVIEC, [therefore], issued instructions for legal action to be taken against BVI Cable TV,” BVIEC explained.
The BVIEC said they owned 55 percent of the territory’s pole infrastructure, FLOW had 35 percent, BVI Cable TV owned the next 10 percent, and all three companies shared each other’s poles at no cost long before the September 2017 disasters.
In explaining why they decided to start charging to share their utility poles, the BVIEC said: “Following the hurricanes, the entire pole infrastructure comprising of several thousands of poles within the territory was reinstated at the sole cost of BVIEC. Further, during BVIEC’s restoration of the national electricity infrastructure, it was determined that in some instances BVIEC’s pole infrastructure became compromised due to the lack of adherence to industry standards by BVI Cable TV and others due to how they attached their equipment to BVIEC’s poles.
Currently, the court has issued an injunction, barring BVI Cable TV from placing any attachments on BVIEC’s poles.
BVI Cable TV has said it is open to filing a lawsuit and/or seek intervention from government or the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission.
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