Categorized | National News

URCA Plans Next Meeting To Discuss Proposed Cable Hike

The Utilities Regulation and Competition Authority (URCA) will hold a second town hall meeting in New Providence to discuss Cable Bahamas’ application to hike its SuperBasic REV TV cable television package fees.

Cable Bahamas is seeking to raise the price of its basic package by $8 per month or a 27 per cent increase for residential customers and a $13.50 hike for business customers.

Residential customers currently pay $30 month for those basic packages while commercial customers pay $50 per month.

Last month, URCA hosted a town hall meeting that became heated as customers showed up in droves mostly to oppose the proposed hike.

The integrity of URCA was brought in to question during that meeting when political activist and former Democratic National Alliance (DNA) candidate in the recent general election Rodney Moncur revealed that URCA’s Chairman Randy Dorsett had acted as lead attorney for Cable Bahamas.

Since that meeting, URCA has sought to set the set record straight and in a statement released subsequent to Mr. Moncur’s charges, the regulator outlines Mr. Dorsett’s relationship with Cable Bahamas.

URCA explained that Mr. Dorsett, who is a partner with the law firm Graham Thompson and Co., represented Cable Bahamas in legal matters ahead of his appointment as chairman in early August 2012; however, since his appointment any matters involving the cable operator were assigned to other attorneys in the law firm.

“Mr. Dorsett no longer has any such dealings with Cable Bahamas Limited or any other licencee of URCA,” said URCA in a statement September 12. “These facts were disclosed to URCA by Mr. Dorsett upon his appointment as chairman. Mr. Dorsett also took a decision not to sit on any matters which are brought to the Board in which his firm represents any licencee.

“Upon Mr. Dorsett’s disclosure of these matters the Board accepted that appropriate and satisfactory measures had been put in place to deal with any claims of a conflict of interest. At its August 2012 meeting the Board also decided to publish these facts on its website in its quarterly report of Board activities, which report becomes due in October.”

Cable Bahamas has maintained that the increases are necessary in order to keep up with rising costs. Since 1995, Cable Bahamas said it has never increased its prices for the SuperBasic package, while the cost of living has increased by 37 per cent over that same time period.

URCA must provide written approval before Cable Bahamas can increase its prices.

URCA has also held town hall meetings in Exuma, Freeport, Grand Bahama, Marsh Harbour, Abaco and Deadman’s Cay, Long Island.

The deadline for public consultation on the issue is Friday, October 19.

The town hall meeting takes place next Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at the Town Centre Mall.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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