About Us

WHO WE ARE

The Utilities Regulatory Authority (URA) of Vanuatu was established on 11 February 2008 under the Utilities Regulatory Act No. 11 of 2007.

URA is an initiative of the Vanuatu Government, with additional financial support from AusAID through the Governance for Growth (GfG) Program in cooperation with the World Bank.

The URA Act establishes the URA as an independent body acting as a mediator between the Government and public utilities.

A Commission comprising three people makes the decisions: Chairperson Johnson Naviti, Part-Time Commissioner John Obed Allilee and Part-Time Commissioner & Chief Executive Officer Dr. Hasso Bhatia

The Ministry of Finance appoints the Commissioners based on nominations from an Evaluation Committee. Qualification for this appointment is based on their knowledge and experience in the electricity and water sectors, as well as in commerce, economics, law and public administration.

 

WHAT WE DO

URA only regulates the electricity and water industries. The main objectives of the URA, according to the URA Act, are:

1. To ensure the provision of safe, reliable and affordable regulated services

2. To maximise access to regulated services throughout Vanuatu.

3. To protect the long-term interests of consumers.

These objectives are central to the framework of economic regulation that facilitates efficiency and financial viability in regulated industries, prevents misuse of monopoly power and ensures that customers benefit from the gains of economic regulation and efficiency.

The URA Act also lists a number of URA functions:

  • to provide advice, reports and recommendations to the Government relating to utilities;
  • to inform the public of matters relating to utilities;
  • to assist consumers to resolve grievances;
  • to investigate and act upon offences under this Act;
  • when requested by the Minister to do so, to conduct an inquiry into any systemic reliability of supply issues related to a regulated industry or other regulated service specified by the Minister in the request;
  • to conduct public education programs for the purpose of promoting its objectives under the Act and the relevant legislation and in relation to significant changes in the regulation of a regulated industry;
  • to advise the Minister on any other matter referred to the Authority by the Minister; and
  • to administer and monitor compliance of Concession Agreements under the Act.

HOW WE WORK

The CEO manages the URA staff, which is composed of the Chief of Staff, 17 local technical staff, 5 administrative staff and 2 expatriate technical advisors with background in finance/economics/legal/accounting and experience in economic regulation providing support to the local team.

The Commission meets in a formal session each quarter. The decisions are informed by staff papers and formal oral briefings. When a Commission decision is made, a minute is created and approved. Where appropriate, the Commission decision is confirmed by appropriately sealed documents.

Before the Commission issues a Final Decision and Commission Order, URA goes through comprehensive consultation process to allow stakeholders to provide feedback on their Preliminary Decision. Submissions received are considered before a Final Decision and Order is made. 


     

   


 

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