September 21, 2021

Cayman Islands URCO now operational

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The Ministry of Planning, Lands, Agriculture today (Friday, 3 February 2017) announced the establishment of the Utility Regulation and Competition Office, known as OfReg.

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.

OfReg has now assumed the responsibilities and functions previously carried out by Information Communications Technology Authority (ICTA), the Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA) and the Petroleum Inspectorate. As such it has absorbed the entire staff complement of the legacy regulators and will operate with their combined budgets for the remainder of the fiscal year.

Commenting on the news, Infrastructure Minister, Hon. Kurt Tibbetts, says the design of the statutory and regulatory framework reflects international best practice for similar regulatory organisations.

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,” Mr. Tibbetts remarks.

Following the recent passage of enabling legislation at the end of 2016 the merger was completed in early January 2017.

All team members are presently being housed together in the ICTA offices on the second floor at Alissta Towers, while larger accommodations are sought.

Former minister and Speaker of the House, Dr. the Hon. Linford Pierson, OBE, JP, is serving as URCO’s first Chairman of the Board. During his time in Cabinet, Mr Pierson was responsible for telecommunications and works.

Meanwhile veteran utilities and ICT regulator, Mr. J. Paul Morgan, has been named Chief Executive Officer for the new office. 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.

Additional legislation is expected to be presented at the February sitting of the Legislative Assembly to facilitate the transfer of the economic regulatory functions of the Water Authority to OfReg.

Further information about OfReg is available from www.ofreg.ky or tel. 345 946-4282.

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