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Regulatory Authority aims to trim its budget

Seeking views: as part of its public consultation on its work plan preliminary report for 2021-2022, the RA is inviting feedback until the end of January 18

In response to the financial impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Regulatory Authority of Bermuda is looking to trim its total expenditure budget by 11 per cent to $5,707,225.

It is projecting a 10 per cent fall in revenues for the 2021-2022 fiscal year, and said it must narrow the scope of its work plan for the coming year to "mission-critical" projects.

The RA oversees the island’s electronic communications and electricity sectors. It is proposing many of its fees should not be increased.

It has proposed cutting the cost of consulting services by $278,600, or 25 per cent, reducing operating costs by 30 per cent, or $216,775, and a 26 per cent drop in the remuneration cost of commissioners, from $540,000 in the current year to $396,000.

The RA’s costs are funded through the payment of its general regulatory fees and service fees relating to the electronic communications and electricity sectors. It also collects revenue for the government.

In its preliminary report work plan and budget for the coming fiscal year, released yesterday, it outlined proposals and invited feedback.

The Authority anticipates collecting government revenues of $16.79 million from the electronic communications sector, and $177,301 from the electricity sector. It said: “This has been derived based on the estimated impact of Covid-19 in the fiscal year 2020-21, and has been adjusted for the projected GDP growth of 4.5 per cent in the fiscal year 2021-2022, as per the World Economic Outlook for June 2020.”

The RA said in the electronic communications sector the majority of regulatory frameworks are now complete, while in the electricity sector the primary activities will be “to evolve the critical next steps for the island’s renewable energy development plan, primarily with a focus on wind pre-feasibility, solar procurement and a multiyear tariff setting effort”.

The Authority will also regulate the international submarine communications cable permitting and licensing processes.

It proposes a decrease in the RA fee relating to integrated communications operating licences from 1.75 per cent to 1.62 per cent.

In the electricity sector, it proposes no increase to fees. However, it also recommends a new “self-supply generation licence fee” for providers of greater than 0.5 Megawatts of installed electricity capacity, to be set at $1,500 per MW.

As part of its public consultation on the work plan preliminary report for 2021-2022, the RA is inviting feedback until the end of January 18. Visit https://www.ra.bm/public-consultations/

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Published December 22, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated December 22, 2020 at 7:23 am)

Regulatory Authority aims to trim its budget

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