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ABOUT THE URA

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 and  Part-Time & Chief Executive Officer John Obed Allilee

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.

Chief Executive Officer- John Obed Alilee

Mr. John Obed Alilee was appointed Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Utilities Regulatory Authority on the 02nd of January 2018. He has a solid experience in Public Institution Management.

He served as the Registrar of the Supreme Court since 2002 and Secretary of the Judicial Service Commission since 2003. Prior to that, Mr. Alilee worked as the Lay Magistrate in both Judicial and Administrative roles.

Before joining the Vanuatu Courts, he served in the education sector as a teacher and school administrator 1992 - 2000.

Mr. Alilee has a Master of Business Administration, a Postgraducate Certificate in Human Resource Management from the University of the South Pacific. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts from the Wellington University of Victoria in New Zealand.

He has served on several committees in the country and the Government of Vanuatu, including the appointment as part of statutory recruitment for a Regulator for the Office of Telecommunication and Radiocommunications Regulator in 2013 and recruitment for Director Generals of the Public Services Commission in 2011.

 

Chairperson - Johnson Naviti Matarulapa Marakipule

Johnson Naviti was appointed to the role of Chairperson and part-time non-executive Commissioner in October 2008. He joined the Aid Coordination Unit of the Prime Minister Office where he is currently the head.

Mr. Naviti has been the principal implementator of the program for the Pacific Islands Forum Secretarial based in Fiji from 2002 to 2008 and worked for the government of Vanuatu from 1996 to 2001 as an analyst in the sector, including Acting Director Economic Development and the Industry.

He holds a Bachelors Degree in Resource and Environmental Planning from Massey University, in New Zealand.


 

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 Manager Regulation, 8 local technical staff, 4 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. See the Consultation section for more information on this process.