After spending more than four hours in longer than usual lines at Tobago’s lone service centre on Friday, T&TEC customers are calling on the commission to put proper management systems in place to address the problem.
They say while they understand COVID-19 rules and regulations along with the light bulb distribution, will result in long lines, they believe the commission can treat its customers better.
When Guardian Media visited the centre at 7:50 am, more than 20 customers were already in line.
By 8:15, the line was so long that it snaked over to the opposite side of the road. The guard sharing numbered chits said there were only one cashier and one clerk on duty.
By 10, customers, in the sun since 8 complained bitterly.
A pensioner from Delaford told Guardian Media it was his second trip to the centre as he was there on Wednesday.
“ I could not wait as I can’t stand too long. I feel T&TEC could do better than this,” the man, who gave his name only as Williams said.
Another customer from Lowlands said she had an appointment to do a non-cash transaction and was upset she was made to stand in the same line as persons doing transactions.
At noon, Guardian Media returned to the centre and found persons who were there at 8, still in the line.
T&TEC’s communications manager Annabelle Brasnell responded to customers’ concerns.
She said there was a shortage of staff but the problem was addressed.
“ I can confirm that the Scarborough service centre was short-staffed when we opened to the public at 8 am today. This was not a planned situation, and we called out additional staff and by 11 am we had the full complement of cashiers available,” Brasnell told Guardian Media.
She continued.” The fact is that the distribution of the bulbs has dovetailed into our normal month-end traffic. This is why we linked the distribution of bulbs to bill payment to manage the flow of customers.”
Brasnell said the Friday crowd was not unusual as the commission delivered the normal average of 260 packets of bulbs to customers.
“ We want to remind customers that they should only come to pay their bills when it is due and collect their bulbs at the same time. I also want to remind customers that the distribution of bulbs is expected to run for several months,” she said.