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Cabinet of the Turks and Caicos Islands Approves Draft Policy for Multi-sector Public Utility Regulatory Reform

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Providenciales, Turks and Caicos 14 March 2024 – The Cabinet of the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) is delighted to announce its recent approval of the draft policy for the consultation of a Multisector Public Utility Regulatory framework. This critical step underscores the Government’s dedication to reforming and enhancing the regulatory framework for essential services including telecommunications, electricity, water, sewerage, and related services, ensuring they meet the needs and expectations of all Islanders.

Following comprehensive studies, this approved draft policy sets the stage for a unified regulatory oversight aimed at promoting innovation, environmental sustainability, and the delivery of high-quality utility services across the TCI. The policy aims to consolidate regulatory functions under a single newly established Commission, ensuring a streamlined, efficient, and consumer-focused regulatory approach.

In the next phase of policy development, the Energy and Utilities Department, led by its commissioner, will undertake targeted stakeholder engagements. This initiative aims to involve key stakeholders such as service providers, consumer groups, and industry experts in refining the policy. Their feedback will be instrumental in ensuring the regulatory framework is both robust and reflective of the diverse interests within the utility sectors.

Key Aspects of the Draft Policy:

Cabinet Approval: The Cabinet’s endorsement of the draft policy is a testament to the Government’s commitment to comprehensive utility sector regulatory reform.

Unified Regulatory Body: The formation of a Regulatory Commission to oversee telecommunications, energy, water, and sewerage, optimizing regulatory processes and service standards.

Principles and Objectives: Guided by the principles of transparency, independence, and public interest, the policy focuses on affordability, reliability, competitiveness, innovation, and environmental sustainability of utility services.

Engagement with Stakeholders: Directed by the Energy and Utilities Department, this consultation period is dedicated to detailed discussions with stakeholders, ensuring a wide range of perspectives are considered in finalizing the policy.

Disaster Recovery Trust Fund: An innovative approach to manage the financial impact of natural disasters on utility infrastructure and consumers, promoting rapid recovery and resilience.

Stakeholder Engagement Process:

Recognizing the importance of inclusive policy development, the Government invites all stakeholders to actively participate in the consultation process. The Energy and Utilities Department will provide information on engagement sessions, submission guidelines, and access to the draft policy through the Government’s official website and public notices.

This engagement phase is a pivotal opportunity for the TCI community to contribute to a utility regulatory framework that is aligned with our shared goals for sustainable development, technological innovation, and equitable service provision.

Additional information, when available on how to participate in the stakeholder consultations, will be posted on www.gov.tc.

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TCI News

FortisTCI has requested the appointment of an independent inquirer to examine the reasonableness of the Company’s submission for revised electric rates

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FortisTCI has requested the appointment of an independent inquirer to examine the reasonableness of the Company’s submission for revised electric rates. The request was submitted to Her Excellency the Governor today. The Company’s submission proposed a 6% rate increase across service territories.
The appointment of an inquirer forms part of the rate review process outlined in the Electricity Ordinance. Interested persons can make representation during the inquiry. Once completed, the inquirer provides a report to FortisTCI as the public supplier and to Her Excellency the Governor with its recommendations.

The Company’s proposal for revised electric rates was submitted to the Governor on February 14, 2024, and was supported by substantial information. As part of the rate review process, Her Excellency, the Governor, requested additional information through the Energy and Utilities Commissioner, and the Company met all additional requests.

FortisTCI understands the difficulties that customers can face with electricity bills. For this reason, the Company works hard to ensure that electric rates have remained as stable as possible. The Company invests responsibly and maintains an efficient operation, providing customers with one of the most reliable electricity services in the Caribbean.

FortisTCI maintains that revised electric rates are necessary at this time to expand the electricity system and maintain reliable service to customers, amid rising energy demand as the Turks and Caicos Islands economy continues to grow. Like other businesses, external pressures such as persistent high inflation and high interest costs have also impacted the operation. These are the primary reasons for the electric rates review.

Before the current submission of revised rates, FortisTCI had requested one general rate review in twenty years. This was to help recover significant investments made after Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017. The rate increase was granted after the appointment of an Inquirer, who determined that the Company’s request was necessary and reasonable. The inquirer’s report also highlighted that FortisTCI had prudently managed its costs and operation.

Similarly, the Company welcomes an open and independent examination of its current request for revised electric rates. FortisTCI will hold information meetings across the islands to discuss its proposed revised rates, providing customers with opportunities to have their questions answered. The schedule of meetings will be published on the Company’s social media pages.

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13th Annual Wine Cellar Golf & Fishing Tournament (WCGFT) Check Presentation Ceremony – 5th April, 2023

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#TurksandCaicos, April 10, 2024 – We are proud to announce that this year’s proceeds from the 13th WCGFT were presented to 3 youth-oriented organizations: Edward Gartland Youth Centre, TCI Amateur Athletic Association (TCIAAA) and TCI Swimming Federation (TCISF).

The Edward Gartland Youth Centre is a non-profit organization providing a space of learning for the youth of Providenciales with activities ranging from tutoring to sports and recreation, arts and craft and so much more.

TCIAAA and TCISF just represented the Turks & Caicos Islands in the CARIFTA Games in Grenada, 2024. We are proud of their achievements and happy that we could help in time.

The Charities were presented cheques totaling $70,000:

Edward Gartland Youth Centre:          $35,000

TCIAAA:                                            $20,000

TCISF:                                                $15,000

This brings the total donated by the WCGFT and its Sponsors to $530,000. We look forward to giving even more next year.

This concludes this year’s 13th WCGFT Event and Cheque Presentation. We would like to thank our sponsors and organizers who were key in our efforts to give back to the youth of the TCI Community.

We look forward with great anticipation to next year’s event.

Thank you all.

 

CONTACT: Desmond Williams, desmond@winecellar.tc, Wine Cellar Golf & Fishing Tournament

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TCI News

Swearing-In Ceremony, six added to TCI Police Force

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Six police constables were today sworn into the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force.

Four experienced officers- Germaine Scott, Sandenia Francis, Tyrone Cox and Blake Hooker, along with Special Constables Rashaunda Cooke and Raymond Clare took their oaths during a brief ceremony at Police Headquarters, Airport Road, Providenciales.

The officers pledged to uphold justice, protect the community, and diligently serve their duties with pride and integrity.

Commissioner of Police (ag) Christopher Eyre addressed the constables, applauding the efforts of those currently serving and indicating that they are now part of dealing with the challenges facing the Turks and Caicos Islands, particularly that of illegal migration.

Mr Eyre said: “In this region, we face the humanitarian tragedy affecting Haiti, and our hearts go out to those affected on that island. Unfortunately, due to the collapse of Haiti’s government, we have seen the prisons being overrun and over 5000 prisoners escaping.

“We also face challenges from illegal migration to our shores. Deputy Commissioner of Police Mr. Rodney Adams and I have been working feverishly to coordinate with other law enforcement colleagues to secure the TCI borders.

“I am proud of this Force and how we have stepped up to the challenges. I look forward to seeing you and also seeing you excel as part of the team”.

Deputy Commissioner of Police Rodney Adams, Assistant Commissioner of Police Kendall Grant, Human Resource Officer Sgt. Tashauna Wilson, and Chairman of the Police Welfare Association Sgt. Jepson Victor were also at the swearing-in.

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