Black Immigrant Daily News
The Anguilla Electricity Company Limited’s (ANGLEC’s) CEO, Mr Sutcliffe Hodge, reached out to Mr Ralph Hodge to congratulate him on his appointment as the new Energy Commissioner with responsibility for regulating electricity in Anguilla.
It is important to note that the regulatory function within any public utility service – be it water, telecommunications, or electricity – is a vital one. CEO Hodge observed that it is unfortunate that we are only now getting around to having someone fill the regulatory position of Energy Commissioner, one that has been left vacant for many years.
Mr Sutcliffe Hodge
Mr Ralph Hodge
He said: “Since I have taken up the position as CEO of ANGLEC, I have been concerned about the conflicting role that Government had – because it wore three caps as it relates to ANGLEC: government the regulator, government the shareholder, and government the customer. When one entity or person wears those three caps simultaneously, sometimes judgment gets blurred.
“Prior to joining ANGLEC, I, as well as many other persons, had expressed concern about the conflict that government had with respect to ANGLEC. So, when the announcement came that someone was going to be appointed as the regulator for electricity, I thought it was a good thing – and still do – once one recognises that there must be a separation of functions and duties of the regulator.
“The regulator’s role is exactly as it implies – it is to regulate the quality of service, assist with regulating electricity rates, and deal with customer complaints. It is not to interfere with the internal operations of an entity. If, as a regulator, something is observed, then the regulator has to work with the entity to rectify it.
“So, while many people were alarmed by the announcement – believing that something sinister might be up – once the role of the regulator is done above board, with transparency, and with there being a firewall established between the regulator and the government, as well as between the regulator and ANGLEC, then it is something good and it should actually help to build a more mature relationship between the regulatory function and ANGLEC. The government can then have nonconflicting roles as a customer and a shareholder of ANGLEC.
“I think it makes for a much better working relationship between ANGLEC, the regulator, and the government – one where there is greater transparency on issues pertaining to the way the electricity sector functions in Anguilla, and one which should result in a much better and more transparent delivery of regulatory functions, so that decisions are not made emotionally or impulsively.”Currently, there is a similar regulatory functioning body – the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) – operating in Anguilla, and it has done so successfully for a number of years. The PUC regulates telecommunications and it is separate and apart from government. There is an established firewall that clearly delineates the function of the regulator separate and apart from the functioning of government.
CEO Hodge noted that “whenever there is any encroachment on the part of government with respect to issues pertaining to the PUC, the PUC will always express concern. That is the way it is intended to perform by regulation. The same should be true with the commissioner of electricity. It is intended to provide a function that is independent of government, is objective, and more focused on delivering value for money to customers – while also ensuring the consistent supply of electricity at a fair rate.”
Energy Commissioner, Mr Ralph Hodge, gave a brief statement concerning his recent appointment. He stated: “In accepting the Governors’ appointment, my primary interest and commitment is to be guided by the Electricity Act and to provide advice to Her Execellency based on the facts received.”
Mr Ralph Hodge and Mr Sutcliffe Hodge have enjoyed a long-lasting friendship over the years, and now find themselves connected professionally in the independent roles they are both tasked with performing in the delivery of electricity service to Anguilla.
CEO Hodge is of the view that they will continue to develop a professional relationship with each other based on openness, truth and transparency as they settle comfortably into their new roles.