RIC vows to monitor T&TEC more closely
Glen Khan, executive director of theRegulated Industries Commission (RIC), has said the RIC will monitor T&TEC more closely and frequently.
Khan was speaking at the RIC’s public consultation on the price review for the electricity transmission and distribution sector at Government Plaza, Port of Spain on Tuesday. The review could see an increase in domestic rates of 15-64 per cent.
He said the RIC was concerned about the reliability of the country’s electricity supply and so all its analyses were to determine the level of revenue T&TEC needed to ensure people get efficient service, which is approximately $27 billion over the next five years.
Therefore, in the expenditure approved for T&TEC, “significant funds” would be put towards adding and refurbishing substations. It also, in 2021, established codes of practice for the electricity company, explaining how T&TEC should relate to customers and intended to establish call-centre metrics to track and monitor T&TEC’s performance.
It would reduce meter checks from five to four years, ask T&TEC to undergo customer satisfaction surveys, and set a target for T&TEC to reduce system losses though lines or people stealing electricity, for which registered customers paid.
“How do we plan to ensure T&TEC complies with all of these things? We are going to monitor them more closely, sometimes quarterly, annually, and we are going to ask them to communicate with us a lot more frequently to advise you on various aspects of their business.”
Khan said the determination of final rates would be in April, and T&TEC would then have two weeks to inform customers of the new rates.
In evaluating T&TEC’s business plan, RIC used “incentive regulation” instead of rate-of-return regulation, where T&TEC was guaranteed a profit.
“Under incentive regulation, the risk is now to be borne by the utility, not by the customers. And the incentive is that every time T&TEC is able to reduce its cost, it is able to keep the benefits of that reduction in cost for a period of five years (until the next review).”
He said the average residential customer’s electricity consumption in TT was 600 kwh monthly. The next highest consumer was Barbados at 250 kwh. But TT was ranked highest for providing an affordable amount of electricity to residential areas using about 200 kwh (the least expensive consumption range). The next highest was St Lucia, at about 160 khw.
UNC activist Marsha Walker also attended the event, arriving just before the question-and-answer segment. She suggested the RIC took its consultations into communities in order to get greater participation, and complained the government was the biggest culprit in wasting electricity, even while it owed T&TEC over $1 billion.
"RIC vows to monitor T&TEC more closely"