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Jul 30, 1999

Utilities Commission Bill passed by House

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Among the election promises made by the P.U.P. was the establishment of a Public Utilities Commission to regulate rates being charged to consumers. Today the government moved one step closer to setting up this autonomous body when the House of Representatives passed the Public Utilities Commission Bill. Minister of Industry and Commerce, Jose Coye said that while the privatization of B.E.L. has been a positive step, the regulation of the industry should have come first. He says the commission will mean business and members will be carefully selected.

Jose Coye, Minister of Industry and Commerce

“They were appointed by the Governor General on the advice of the Prime Minister and after consultation with the Leader of the Opposition. There are some very specific qualifications that we require; very technical and financial qualifications will be required in the appointment.”

Q: “And the Commission will be responsible to whom?”

Jose Coye

“The Commission will be an autonomous body. They will be responsible to the people in that sense.”

Q: “Will they have real power? Like with B.T.L. last night, they were very happy to report their profits to the shareholders. The public isn’t so happy. What will the role of the Commission be in dealing with rates?”

Jose Coye

“The Commission will be a regulatory body and they will ensure indeed that the rates will be reasonable and fair. It’s not to deny the investor a reasonable return on investments but it’s more to restrain the excesses of profits.”

Accompanying the Public Utilities Bill was the Electricity Amendment Bill which provides greater autonomy for the Director General of Electricity Supply and provides for the appeal to the Utilities Commission against the decisions of the Director General.

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