News Release: HAMILTON, Bermuda – Today, the Minister of Home Affairs, Walter Roban, threw his support behind the RA for protecting the interest of residents and consumers following the court’s finding in favour of the Regulatory Authority (RA).  

The Minister explained: “This decision is excellent news for the RA and the ratepayer. The RA is responsible for looking after the end-user’s best interests, as noted in Section 6 of the Electricity Act 2016, the purposes of the Act. Paramount among those is promoting the interests of end-users concerning prices and the adequacy, reliability, and quality of electricity service.

“The regulator must challenge any actions within the regulated industries that do not appear to support consumer price and cost stability.

“The matter at hand was a dispute primarily over the weighted average rate of return. In a challenging economic climate, the utility cannot expect to make an unbridled profit on the backs of the ratepayers, many of whom are under significant economic duress.

“That aside, the utility is indeed a privately owned company- who, in 2023, lauded that BELCO did well and turned a decent profit in the past year in the face of other sister companies within the Algonquin group having endured a challenging year. That statement alone is inconsistent with the utility’s messaging around this case.  Although a private company, they are in the service of the public- and that essential duty cannot be disregarded or downplayed.  

“I must note that the RA can only consider those used and valuable assets and any expenses prudently incurred in their considerations and calculations to arrive at electricity rates. That means the utility’s assets must be in good working order, being used and functioning as they should for servicing the people of Bermuda.

“I fully support the Regulatory Authority for giving the highest priority to one of its principal functions under section 12 (b) of the Regulatory Authority Act 2011, “To promote the interest of the residents and consumers.” which is of paramount importance in an environment of inflation and high cost of basic necessities faced by persons and businesses.

“I applaud the willingness of the regulator to defend their decisions around these issues, especially with adherence to section 12(b) of the Act and other related provisions.

“Good regulation ensures fairness, and not just for the utility, and I commend the RA for upholding their duties to the ratepayer.

“Hopefully, this decision is a harbinger of things to come for the Regulatory Authority and regarding future rate cases.”