Executives from The Utilities Regulation and Competition Authority (URCA) have embarked on a series of public town hall meetings to listen to the concerns of consumers. The URCA representatives have held discussions with residents in Abaco and in New Providence, and now the executive team will continue their campaign of public consultations across the northern islands, with three scheduled town
hall meetings on Grand Bahama and “pop up” office hours at the Grand
Bahama Chamber of Commerce. URCA is responsible for regulating the Electronic Communications Sector (ECS) in The Bahamas and is the governing body for Internet, Cable, Phone, and Media as well as Energy providers in the neighboring islands. The Town Hall Meetings will be held on Tuesday, May 7th, in Eight Mile Rock at the EMR High School, on Wednesday, May 8th in Freeport at the Father Pestaina Centre, and on Thursday, May 9th, in East End, at the St. Nicholas Parish – with all three starting at 6 pm. With URCA Executives
explaining upgrades in customer service initiatives, solar engagement, and regulations, disaster preparedness efforts as well as the corporation’s objectives for 2019-2020.
During the consultation sessions in New Providence, URCA CEO Stephen Bereaux, told attendees that it was important for the representatives to receive feedback from all stakeholders because the information gathered influences the work of the regulator and allows them to understand the needs of the public. “What we want to hear from you,” said Bereaux, “what you think are the biggest areas of concern, and how we should be exercising our regulatory jurisdiction. Our goal really is to find out what are the priorities you feel we should be working on.”
Alternative energy, consumer protection, quality service, and the handling of complaints, were among some of the hot button topics discussed in the previous forums. CEO Stephen Bereaux, along with URCA’s Director of Electronic Communications, Carlton Smith, and URCA Director of Utilities, Shevonn Cambridge, will be on Grand Bahama to answer questions, address customer concerns, and discuss how the proposed rollout plan will impact consumers. The team will also host 2 days of ‘Pop Up’ storefronts at the GB Chamber of Commerce. A first for GB residents, and will allow for one on one meetings on licensing media or internet startups, and renewable energy questions or concerns. “We are looking forward to being in Freeport,” noted director Smith, a former media personality in GB. “I am excited to be working at home for a few days and to address any concerns Grand Bahamians have about the services we regulate. I encourage everyone to come out and have their input and tell us what they feel is not working or working well.”