Fortis and LIME, two of the largest companies in the Turks and Caicos Islands, are heading for a million-dollar legal battle in the Supreme Court.
Documents obtained by the SUN have revealed that Fortis is suing LIME for just over one million dollars plus interest. Both companies have been in an ongoing dispute for more than a year because of a billing issue.
According to the document, on July 2nd, 2012, Fortis sent LIME an invoice for one million dollars for amounts due and owing, but which were erroneously not previously invoiced.
The electricity company is claiming that LIME has breached a contract because the amount remains outstanding.
Fortis, who is represented by Lara Maroof of F Chambers, is also claiming that LIME has been unjustly enriched by refusing to pay the million dollars.
A Supreme Court writ of summons stated: “Fortis supplied electricity to LIME’s Leeward Highway site at LIME’s request and LIME took the benefit of that supply. Due to the error in billing, LIME has not paid for all of the electricity it used and has been unjustly enriched by the said supply of electricity to Fortis’ expense. Fortis claims the sum of one million and ninety nine thousand, five hundred and thirteen dollars in respect of unjust enrichment.”
Fortis is also claiming that it is entitled to interest at a rate of two percent per month to be compounded monthly on all sums from LIME for the period July 2nd 2012 to May 24th 2013.
As far as the billing error is concerned, between April 2003 and December 2011, Fortis supplied bills and invoices to LIME in respect of the Leeward Highway site which were “wrong on their face”. The error arose as a result of the bills applying a multiplier of 60 to the revenue meter readings where a multiplier of 80 should have been used.”
On December 9th 2011, Fortis wrote to LIME setting out what it then believed to be the billing error and its cause and providing a table of under charging between 2001 and 2011. The letter made an open offer to recover the undercharge over a number of future instalments and to reduce the amount owed as a gesture of goodwill.
Further, Fortis indicated that the correct billing multiplier would be applied to the account from December 12th 2011 and thereafter.
According to the court document it is admitted that the billing error was not any fault of LIME. However, Fortis is denying that LIME was being required to bear the burden of the billing error since in reality, LIME had the benefit of not paying for the full amount of the electricity it used between 2003 and 2011 and at that stage Fortis was not seeking interest on the amounts which should have been charged and paid but which were not charged as a result of the billing error.
Source: TCI Sun