Burnt Surge Protectors: Only Mamaguy from T&TEC, RIC

Spread the love
By Neela Ramsundar

ON February 8, 2023, I had a full day representing a client in a trial at the Port of Spain Waterfront Judicial Centre.

The next day, the moment I opened the door of my Cunupia law office, it reeked of burning smell. I discovered three of my five surge protectors/voltage regulators and a combo battery back- up/surge protector unit (I will just refer to them as “surge protectors”), in my office were destroyed with electrical burn marks on them.

With bated breath, I tested all my office electronics and kitchen appliances. I breathed a sigh of relief –
he surge protectors died doing their job – protecting my equipment! Everything was working, thank God!


I gathered all my dead surge protectors and pondered what had happened. After inquiries with my landlord and others, it turned out the entire building experienced flickering lights, surges etc… resulting
in blown lights, blown surge protectors and the like during the wee hours of the morning before.

A T&TEC truck had been called out and everything went back to normal after they did whatever they had
to do. Turns out, several people from the community complained about that same electrical incident, so
it was not confined to my building complex alone.

Replacing those four surge protectors would cost me approximately $1,500. Not exactly a drop in the
bucket. I decided to lodge a claim with T&TEC for compensation for the loss. People I spoke with told
me I would be wasting my time. I didn’t disagree with them, but given I believed I had a genuine
claim, I was curious about the process and whether people were giving T&TEC a fair shake.

T&TEC required me to fill out an online damaged appliance claim, which I did. A couple days later, I
received an emailed confirmation of receipt of my claim. Next, a T&TEC investigator made an appointment to view my office. This site visit occurred within a few days of lodging my claim and went well. So far, impressive!


At that time, I had already had a certified electrician examine my office and gotten my “Technician’s Report” forms filled out. I also had in hand quotations and/or receipts for replacement surge protectors,
all requirements of T&TEC in the event it accepted liability for the electrical incident.

The website said I could submit these documents at any time. I did so right after the site visit, after receiving confirmation from the investigator that she found nothing unusual with the electricals.

Within two weeks thereafter, I received T&TEC’s letter stating, in summary, that they did not find themselves negligent and for that reason, it was unable to recommend compensation. Curiously, the letter contained the words: “WITHOUT PREJUDICE”. That term, generally speaking, is a legal mechanism used by parties who wish to prevent disclosure of the document before a court of law where there is no settlement of the dispute.

AZP Ad 1 advertise here

Whether it is reasonable and/or lawful for T&TEC to employ this legal mechanism in the circumstances is quite an interesting discussion – but for another day. I had expert advice from a certified electrician was that the electrical incident was not due to any fault the building’s wiring etc. I had information that others in the community were also affected by the same incident. The finger was pointed directly to T&TEC as being the cause of the electrical incident, but T&TEC (in judging itself) said it was not negligent.

I decided to follow the appeal procedure – lodge a complaint with the (now infamous) Regulated Industries Commission (RIC). The same day I received the T&TEC claim rejection letter, I lodged a complaint with the RIC using its online complaint form.

Unlike the T&TEC experience, I received no email or other confirmation of receipt of my online
complaint from the RIC. It been more than three weeks now, with deafening silence from the RIC. I presume I will never hear from them.

Overall, I rate the damage complaints procedure of T&TEC and the complaints process of the RIC as pure “mamaguy” [sweet talk with no substance].

Be safe T&T and remember to keep all your valuable electronics on quality surge protectors!

Copyright © 2023 Neela Ramsundar, LLB (HONS), LEC is a Civil Litigation Attorney at Law & Certified Mediator.

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are for general informational purposes only and/or contain the opinions and/or thoughts of the writer only. It does not provide legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader. For legal advice on your specific situation, please contact an attorney of your choosing directly. Liability for any loss or damage of any kind whatsoever allegedly incurred as a consequence of relying on content in this article is thus hereby excluded to the fullest extent permitted by law.


2 thoughts on “Burnt Surge Protectors: Only Mamaguy from T&TEC, RIC

  1. Not only t&tec…tstt also behave similarly. In January there was a cell tower issue in Felicty. It disrupted my landline and cell service. It took TSTT approximately 10 days to resolved the issue. I asked for a rebate and was told it will be applied to my next bill by a CSR via phone. I am still waiting for my rebate. I complained to TATT. TATT responded that I still had itermitting service as such to rebate. I responded to TATT I expect and is paying for a 24/7 from TSTT and as such I find this action by TSTT was dishonest. So I am contemplating writing again to TATT who I believe is similar to RIC….not a true arbitrator

    1. Dear Paul Mohammed, your experience with TSTT & TATT does indeed seem very similar to mine. Thank you for sharing and increasing my understanding of the behaviour of these institutions. Makes me wonder how many more people may share our experiences too …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *