Creation of a Single Utilities Commission

Project Updates as at 31 May, 2017

Status: Closed

  • The project has achieved the target outcome set by Cabinet and has been closed. A Project Closure Report has been finalised.
  • This project established a multi-sector public utilities authority, in effect merging the functions of the existing single sector utilities into a utilities commission, and has resulted in:
    • Enactment of legislation that:
      • transfers the economic regulatory functions of the Water Authority to the Utilities Regulation Commission (URCO),
      • transfers responsibility for the Dangerous Substances Law and the promotion of competition in the fuels markets to the URCO,
      • sets out a new regulatory framework for sectors that fall with the remit of the new Agency,
      • sets out the broad functions of the URCO which include a consumer protection role for all areas, and
      • sets out the broad functions of the URCO which include the promotion of innovation as an enabler for economic development.
    • Amendments to the Water Authority Law, the Water (production and Supply) Law and the Wastewater Collection and Treatment Law have been made.
    • Merger of the Information and Communications Technology Authority, Electricity Regulatory Authority and Water Authority regulatory functions to a multi-sector utility regulation and competition authority was completed in January 2017.
    • A regulatory framework that is designed to accommodate additional sectors, in the future, if the Government finds it suitable to do so.

Project Updates as at 30 November, 2016

Status: Business Planning

This project will establish the Utility Regulation and Competition Office (URCO), which will be an independent regulator with responsibility for the ICT, Energy, Water and the Fuels sectors. It will formalise the Government’s initiatives to create transparency in the fuel market; provide the platform for fair competition and consumer protection across the whole utilities sector; and support the future development of vital infrastructure, notably high-speed broadband and renewable energy.  New legislation to create the Utilities Regulation and Competition Office, as well as amendments to the Electricity Regulatory Authority, Information and Communications Technology Authority, and Dangerous Substances Laws, were finalised and approved in the Legislative Assembly (LA) in October 2016.  The Bills relating to the water and fuels sectors are scheduled for tabling at the next Sitting of the LA. The Ministry is currently moving the project through to implementation and in parallel has finalised the outline business case for submission to Cabinet. The proposal demonstrates the achievement of savings in overhead and support costs. In the short term, no savings have been identified in direct staffing costs but that it is expected that savings will occur over time as synergies are identified in the new organisation.


Project Updates as at 25 May, 2016

Relevant EY Recommendations:

25.1 – Merging of ERA, ICTA and Water Regulation into Utilities Commission

PROJECTS ASSIGNED TO: MINISTRY OF PLANNING, LANDS, AGRICULTURE, HOUSING AND INFRASTRUCTURE (PLAH&I)

Minister: Hon. Kurt Tibbetts

Project Sponsor: Mr. Alan Jones, Chief Officer

Overview (taken from Cabinet’s Project Future Programme Brief): The Government has accepted the recommendation to create a single Utilities Commission.  This project will reduce the size of Government and will create a new entity that is more efficient and effective than its predecessors. It will ensure a sound regulatory regime for the benefit of business and household customers alike.

Status: An Outline Business Case is being progressed.

Ministry/Portfolio Update:

  • An Outline Business Case has been submitted and is scheduled for a quality review.