Thursday 23 November, 2017

T&TEC, WASA pricing policy under review

Members of the public are advised that the Regulated Industries Commission (RIC) has initiated the process of Price Reviews for the Trinidad and Tobago Electricity Commission (T&TEC) and the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA).

The Price Review process will consist of three phases with a projected timeline.

In the first phase which is expected to occur in the third and fourth quarters of this year, the RIC will publish and circulate its “Framework and Approach”, which outlines the process that the Commission will follow to conduct the Reviews. This will be accompanied by the publication of the the RIC’s “Information Requirements: Business Plan”, which details the information that the Service Providers (WASA and T&TEC) must submit for these Reviews.

The second phase is expected to begin in the last quarter of 2017 and end in the second quarter of 2018. This entails the publication and circulation of various consultative documents which will detail the RIC’s views on key areas that inform the Review process.

All stakeholders, both public and private, will be welcomed to comment and provide feedback on the documents which will be carefully considered by the RIC.

According to the Commission, one key area of concern is the quality of service provided by the utilities.  The RIC is currently reviewing the existing Quality of Service Scheme (QSS) for T&TEC, and the proposed revisions will address new areas of concern such as the time taken to obtain a new connection. The RIC is also in the process of establishing a QSS for WASA which will address, among other things:

·         provision of a minimum water supply to customers;

·         the time taken to resolve customer complaints;

·         the time taken for new connections to be completed; and

·         the time in which the supply of water is restored after an unplanned interruption.

This phase is expected to begin in the last quarter of this year and end in the second quarter of 2018.

Meanwhile, in the third phase, the RIC is expected to publish and circulate its “Draft Determination (Rates and Miscellaneous Charges)” document, after its review of the respective Service Provider Business Plan/Pricing Proposals and the feedback solicited from all stakeholders on the keys areas of concern. All stakeholders (private and public) will be welcomed to comment and provide their invaluable feedback on this crucial document. This phase will also include face to face public consultation sessions between the RIC and various stakeholders during this period.

The RIC will conclude the process by publishing and circulating the RIC documents “Final Determination (Rates and Miscellaneous Charges)” for each sector, after it has reviewed all comments and concerns raised with respect to the specific Draft Determination. The Review process for both utilities is expected to be completed by mid-2018.

The RIC said as an impartial and independent body, it remains committed to fulfilling its mandate of protecting consumer interests while ensuring that the Service Provider has adequate resources to provide the highest quality of service to all customers at an efficient cost. The RIC further noted that it is aware of the need to ensure that the poor and other vulnerable groups have access to these services at rates they can afford.

 The following documents can now be accessed on the RIC’s website at www.ric.org.tt:

·         Information Requirements: Business Plan 2018-2023 Trinidad and Tobago Electricity Commission; and

·         Framework and Approach Second Regulatory Control Period Electricity Transmission & Distribution Sector.