The Public Accounts Committee will resume its hearing Wednesday as it enquires into the operations of OfReg and the findings of the auditor general’s audit into the local utilities regulator.

That performance audit, Efficiency and Effectiveness of the Utility Regulation and Competition Office (OfReg) – June 2020, found that OfReg’s first three years in operation have been plagued by a lack of strategic planning, little oversight and inconsistent leadership.

Auditor General Sue Winspear had raised concerns about a lack of policies and procedures and the wasting of public money.

In her report, it was confirmed that from 2017 to 2019, OfReg spent $1.72 million on consultants without always following its procurement manual.

The regulator spent $414,000 on official travel over two years without a spending policy, and wasted $355,000 leasing a property that it never moved into.

PAC public hearings are scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday, as well as 22 and 23 July.

First up before the committee on Wednesday morning at 10am will be OfReg Chairman Linford Pierson. He will be followed by Cabinet Secretary Samuel Rose and Gregg Anderson, OfReg Executive Director Energy and Utilities.

On Thursday, hearings will focus on local utilities when Duke Munroe, OfReg executive director, fuels; Alee Fa’amoe, OfReg executive director, ICT; and Malike Cummings, OfReg chief executive officer, testify.

The Utility Regulation and Competition Office was established in January 2017 under the Utility Regulation and Competition Law, by merging the regulatory functions of four existing organisations – the Electricity Regulatory Authority, the Information and Communications Technology Authority, the Petroleum Inspectorate and part of the Water Authority.

The audit found that lack of effective planning for that merger created problems for the regulator from the outset.

PAC Hearings Agenda – Wednesday, 15 July 2020

PAC Hearings Agenda – Thursday, 16 July 2020

PAC schedule of hearings;

  • 15 July, 2020
  • 16 July, 2020
  • 22 July, 2020
  • 23 July, 2020

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