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ICTA To Become Utilities Regulator

GEORGE TOWN, Grand Cayman (CNS) -- The Information and Communications Technology Authority is in the process of transitioning into a new Public Utilities Commission (PUC), which will see the electricity, telecommunications, water and fuel regulators come under one umbrella.

Among its goals is to provide a way for consumers to complain about their utility service providers, the authority said. But although government announced plans for the merger of a utilities regulator in September 2014, the bill is still not ready to go to the Legislative Assembly.

While the “finer points are still to be worked out” on the new legislation, ICTA Managing Director Alee Fa’amoe said the role of the commission will potentially include ensuring that consumers enjoy an acceptable quality of service at reasonable cost; establishing and maintaining transparent, consistent and objective rules for the regulation of utility service providers; promoting the long term, efficient provision of utility services for national development consistent with government policy; providing an avenue of complaint for consumers in their relationship with the utility service providers; working with other related agencies in the promotion of a sustainable environment; and acting independently and impartially.

“The merger of the public utilities regulators has to be a priority of the ICTA as it is imminent but we are determined to continue with our other programmes and initiatives in tandem with the transition and all that entails,” he promised.  “We recognise that this is a trend in the regulatory space and we know it benefits both the providers and the consumers to have an entity such as this working on their behalf.”

Fa’amoe said that he expects the transfer to a Public Utilities Commission and the ICTA’s other priorities to be in place by the second quarter of this year.

These are the upgrade of the country’s 911 system; an increased focus on quality of service standards, beginning with broadband; giving telecoms customers more choice by raising the level of competition in the industry; continued development of the cybersecurity arm of the ICTA.

“As a team, we have had to take a step back to look at what the most pressing issues are, as they have been identified by our various stakeholders, and then re-prioritise accordingly. These five focus areas are the result of that analysis, and we are moving forward quickly on each of them.”