Sunday, February 18, 2018

RIC to review WASA, T&TEC pricing policy

The Regulated Industries Commission (RIC) has begun the process of conducting price reviews for the Trinidad and Tobago Electricity Commission (T&TEC) and the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA).

The price review process will be done in three phases with each phase carrying a projected timeline.

During the first phase, which has a timeline of the third and fourth quarters of this year, RIC will publish and circulate its “Framework and Approach” document. This document outlines the process that the RIC will follow to conduct the reviews. Another document, "Information Requirements: Business Plan" will detail the information WASA and T&TEC must submit to the RIC.

The second phase will entail the publication and circulation of various consultative documents that will detail the RIC's views on key areas that inform the review process. All stakeholders, both private and public, are welcomed to comment and provide their feedback on documents which will be carefully considered by the RIC.

A key area of concern is the quality of service provided by the utilities. Thus, 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, which begins in the last quarter of this year, is expected to be completed by the second quarter of 2018.

In the third and final phase, a "Draft Determination (Rates and Miscellaneous Charges)" document will be published and circulated after a review of the respective Service Provider Business Plan/Pricing Proposal and the feedback solicited from all stakeholders on the keys areas of concern. Stakeholders 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, which runs from the first to the second quarter of 2018.

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.

As an impartial and independent body, the RIC remains committed to fulfilling its mandate of protecting consumer interests while at the same time ensuring that the service provider has adequate resources to provide the highest quality of service to all customers at efficient cost. The RIC is cognizant 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
• Information Requirements: Business Plan 2018-2023 Trinidad and Tobago Electricity Commission; and
• Framework and Approach Second Regulatory Control Period Electricity Transmission & Distribution Sector.