Cayman now has a new Commission called the Electrical Regulatory Authority, complete with a commissioner and five directors.
No doubt, they will all need to hire some staff.
To regulate, try to improve the efficiency, and lower the cost of electricity in the Cayman Islands.
Has anyone done a cost-benefit analysis for the ERA?
We already know that the cost to the Government to run the commission will include salaries, benefits, offices, expenses, and overheads, and that this money will come from existing or new Government fees and that these fees will increase the cost of living in Cayman.
We also know that CUC will have to pay the expenses of existing or new employees, which will be necessary to meet with the ERA, educate them, guide them, and defend CUC and Cayman against possible damaging regulations. And these costs must be paid for by raising electricity prices, which will also increase the cost of living in Cayman.
The Cayman people should ask themselves, do we really need such a large bureaucracy to sit around and try to second guess the management of a small utility?
In my opinion, no.
All Government needs is to do is hire one qualified engineer to represent Cayman at high level CUC meetings.
And this one engineer would be hard pressed to find enough to do.
It is important to bear in mind that Public Utilities Commissions have a record of doing far more harm than good.
This happens when they cannot resist imposing price and cost controls on the utility, usually due to political pressure.
The utility then responds the only way it can. First, cut services.
If that is not enough, next cut maintenance.
If that is not enough, then cut capital investment.
It does not take a genius to see what will happen in that scenario, that all of them are harmful and that the last two lead directly to power failures and brownouts.
Who in their right mind would want this, even if it was free?