The government has appointed former telecommunications and works minister and Speaker of the House Linford Pierson as the first chairman of the newly formed Utility Regulation and Competition Office, known as OfReg.
The regulatory body will oversee utility firms, including water, electricity, telecommunications and petroleum companies, and replaces the Electricity Regulatory Authority, the Information and Communications Technology Authority and the Petroleum Inspectorate.
The nine-member board will also include J. Paul Morgan, described in a Ministry of Planning, Lands and Agriculture press release as a “veteran utilities and ICT regulator,” who takes up the role as chief executive officer. According to government, Mr. Morgan previously headed a similar regulatory agency in Jamaica, and has more than 20 years direct experience in utility regulation.
“The selection of the remaining members of the Board is subject to a transparent statutory process that involves advertising in local media, and which must be complete within two months,” the release stated.
According to the release, OfReg is now in operation.
“Cabinet decided to establish the multi-sector regulatory agency, following an evaluation by the Ministry of the effectiveness of the functions of the standalone regulators. This report found that a converged utility regulator would improve oversight of the sectors, and was used to inform the 2014 EY report, which contained a similar recommendation,” the release stated.
The staff of the Information and Communications Technology Authority, the Electricity Regulatory Authority and the Petroleum Inspectorate have been absorbed into the new office, which is based in the ICTA offices on the second floor at Alissta Towers, while larger accommodations are sought.
Infrastructure Minister Kurt Tibbetts said in the release, “This is a good day for the Caymanian consumer and for the sectors. The new multi-sector regulator has clear and unambiguous powers to discharge its regulatory duties in a transparent and impartial manner.
“Perhaps more importantly, it also has a clearly outlined duty to protect local consumers, facilitate economic development and promote innovation in the sectors for which it has responsibility.”
Additional legislation is expected to be presented at this month’s sitting of the Legislative Assembly to facilitate the transfer of the economic regulatory functions of the Water Authority to OfReg, the release stated.
For more information, visit www.ofreg.ky.