JIS News

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  • Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) must be commended for its work in policing and protecting the interest of consumers.
  • Mr. Holness informed that between January and June 2016, the OUR Consumer Affairs Unit received 1,568 complaints from utility customers, and that 184 of those complaints were resolved by the OUR, while the others were sent to the relevant service provider, where they were resolved, or are being pursued to resolution.
  • Turning to the growth and role of service providers, Mr. Holness said the country has seen continued investment in the telecommunications sector, citing Digicel, FLOW and “now a third entrant” as invaluable and committed partners.

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) must be commended for its work in policing and protecting the interest of consumers.

Addressing the 14th annual conference of the Organization of Caribbean Utilities Regulators (OOCUR) at the Secrets Resort in Freeport, Montego Bay, on October 26, the Prime Minister pointed out that the OUR has not only kept utility providers “on their toes”, but has seen to the improvement of service standards and the creation of a regulatory framework that supports the orderly expansion of utilities.

Mr. Holness informed that between January and June 2016, the OUR Consumer Affairs Unit received 1,568 complaints from utility customers, and that 184 of those complaints were resolved by the OUR, while the others were sent to the relevant service provider, where they were resolved, or are being pursued to resolution.

The Prime Minister further pointed out that the OUR, by being proactive, was also able to secure approximately $2 million as compensation for utility customers during the same period.

“I know they sometimes get criticised, and fairly so, for not doing enough. However, by and large, the statistics show the relevance of the OUR and their role as the consummate watchdog group,” he said.

“This is not to say that there are no loopholes. However, as an Administration, we are working closely with the OUR to ensure that all loopholes are closed and that our policy environment is efficient, effective and fair,” the Prime Minister added.

Turning to the growth and role of service providers, Mr. Holness said the country has seen continued investment in the telecommunications sector, citing Digicel, FLOW and “now a third entrant” as invaluable and committed partners.

He added that the Government remains focused on promoting renewable energy to align with the goal of economic growth and job creation and to align with the country’s 2030 vision for development.

The Prime Minister said that while the utility companies are doing their part in providing the investment and the service, the value of the consumer should never be underestimated or taken for granted in any shape or form.

“The consumer is a very valuable partner in all of this, and what he or she is asking for cannot in any way be considered bothersome or unreasonable. The consumer expects service, reliability and value for money,” he emphasised.

Mr. Holness said the Government, too, must play its role in being a fair, just and transparent arbiter in creating an environment where the investor can make a market return on investment, while at the same time ensuring a reliable and affordable utility that maximises consumer satisfaction and contributes to economic growth and national development.