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Regulation & Compliance

The Government of Vanuatu established the Utilities Regulatory Authority (URA) on 11 February 2008 under the Utilities Regulatory Authority Act No. 11 of 2007. The URA Act established the URA as the primary economic regulator of utilities providing infrastructure services in Vanuatu.

The URA regulates prices, service standards and market conduct, as well as promotes consumers' long-term interests in the electricity and water sectors. It also investigates and advises the Government on regulatory matters that affect Vanuatu's essential utilities.

Decisions affect consumers and users of these services, as well as the regulated businesses that provide those services. For this reason, the URA aims to be open and transparent in its decision-making, and to consult with as many people in the broader community as possible. Public participation in regulatory processes enhances the relevance and effectiveness of the URA's decisions. See the Consultation page for more information.

Section 18 of the Utilities Regulatory Authority Act No 11 of 2007 empowers the URA to determine the maximum price that may be charged in relation to any aspect of a regulated service. The URA started a tariff review in the electricity sector in 2009, which led to a reduction in electricity price: see the Electricity Sector page.

The URA is currently conducting a tariff review in the water sector in Luganville: see the Water Sector page for more information.

The URA issued safety and reliability standards in 2011: see the Electricity Sector page.

The URA monitors the price and service performance of electricity and water distribution and publishes reports of their performance to inform customers. There is currently one report available: see the Performance Reports page.

Utilities are required to appoint an independent auditor to conduct audits of their compliance with codes and guidelines published by the URA; and the reliability and quality of information they report to the URA.

The URA publishes the summary reports of audits undertaken and has so far conducted one, of the Sarakata Fund: see the Audit Reports page.

The URA Act also enables the URA to exercise the rights assigned to it in managing contracts between the Government and the regulated utilities. This enables the URA to issue any penalties that are associated with such contractual agreements: see the Offences and Penalties page.

The URA has also issued reports to facilitate the communications with utilities: Review of Certain Actions-Internal Review Guideline (2012) and Regulatory Reporting Requirements (ongoing).