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Competition regulator to target energy companies

Competition regulator to target energy companies

Wednesday 25 February 2015

Competition regulator to target energy companies

Wednesday 25 February 2015

Jersey's competition watchdog has vowed for fight for electricity and gas customers in 2015.

The Channel Islands Competition and Regulatory Authorities has set out its work agenda for the year ahead and while telecommunications remains a top priority, it also wants to address 'concerns' in the Jersey energy sector.

Chief executive Michael Byrne said: “In Jersey aspects of the energy sector have been identified as cause for concern and, working with the States of Jersey assistant chief minister, we will consider the feasibility of a market review and contribute to addressing these concerns."

Overall, CICRA says it wants to "improve the telecommunications landscape for consumers and market entrants and applying the competition law in markets that do not appear to be working well for consumers."

Mr Byrne said: “The aim for CICRA is ensuring consumers have the information they need to make informed decisions, that there is open access to competition, where it is needed, and that we invest our time and resources in appropriate market reviews and competition activity to ensure tangible results.”

CICRA will continue to publish its bi-annual telecoms customer satisfaction surveys on operator quality of service to ensure consumers have the information needed to make choices. It will also undertake a pan-Channel Island survey into broadband quality to assess the standard of the digital supply chain.

“The results will focus regulatory priorities and provide telecoms policy advice to the States of Jersey and Guernsey and to consumers with a view to raising standards and informing policy debate,” Mr Byrne said.

CICRA will publish market statistics that identify telecoms market developments, gauge the progress of competition and help to identify market opportunities for entrants and ensure accountability from the current operators.

In telecommunications CICRA will also:

  • Oversee the implementation of wholesale line rental delivery by June 2015 allowing for all operators to offer landline services
  • Identify demand for further access competition
  • Oversee, monitor and test 4G operator performance and delivery to ensure consumers’ interests are being met
  • Conclude price setting controls in leased lines, fixed prices, fixed interconnection rates, mobile interconnection rates and wholesale broadband
  • Process applications for new telecommunications licences and licence modifications
  • Support Ofcom and the States in determining whether to allow radio frequency spectrum trading and what conditions would need to be met
  • Review aspects of the telecom law to ensure it remains fit for purpose

“Where market players have made commitments in respect of consumer services we intend to hold licensees to those commitments,” Mr Byrne said.

He said that further spectrum was likely to become available in the near term and CICRA will make recommendations to OFCOM to ensure competition and market access is available to interested parties.

Mr Byrne said another key priority was raising the quality of understanding around the competition laws in the islands.

“We will be investing time and expertise in working with the States of Jersey and Guernsey to discuss the role they play as policy makers and how policy can, and does, have an impact on the competitive landscape,” he said.

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