Establishment Of IRC

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Prior to the establishment of the Independent Regulatory Commission (IRC) in 2006, the availability of electricity power in Dominica was a total mess. The Dominica Electric Power Company (DOMLEC), a privately-owned power company, provided electricity to consumers.

Reforming the Energy Sector

Given the technical failures and managerial inefficiencies of the company, electricity supply and availability was down to zero, prompting the Skerrit-led administration to set up a power reform policy for the complete overhaul of the sector in 2003. The framework for electricity sector reform led to the passing of the Electricity Supply Act and the subsequent establishment of the IRC.
The IRC was established under the Electricity Supply Act which was passed into law in October 2006. The commission was set up according to the dictates of the National Electric Power Policy which is aimed at a complete overhaul of electricity services in Dominica.
On June 1, 2007, the Minister for Public Works and Public Utilities, Ambrose George, appointed IRC members and they held their first meeting on June 22, 2007. The minister appointed a chairman and four commissioners who are tasked with managing the six divisions of the commission.

The six (6) IRC Divisions Are:

Legal Support and Licensing
Engineering, Safety and Standards
Market Competition and Rates
Finance and Support Services
Government and Consumer Affairs
Research and Development
The IRC commissioners meet frequently to fashion efficient ways for the regulation, generation, and transmission of electricity throughout Dominica.

With the aid of its commissioners, IRC exists to ensure that electricity is constantly available and distributed to consumers in an efficient, fair, transparent, reliable and environmentally sustainable manner. The commission will also serve to ensure that electricity output is utilized by consumers in the most efficient manner without room for wastage.

The Electricity Act outlines the functions of the IRC. Some of these include:

  • Promote the efficiency, adequacy and availability of electricity
  • Provide a level-playing ground for private sector participation in the power sector
  • Issue licenses and regulations for private companies to engage in power
  • Develop standards and procedures for electricity distribution that is at par with international best practices
  • Arbitrate over disputes between power providers and service consumersEnsure that providers operate at a profit and that consumers pay a fair service rate
  • Help articulate and advance government policies regarding power supply for national development

In the face of IRC functions and objectives, the commission is faced with a number of challenges which are myriad in themselves. One of these is arriving at an acceptable license fee given the fact that the government reportedly owes power providers. So getting providers to pay the proposed fee without passing on the financial burden to consumers remains a major problem.

Secondly, given the lack of manpower confronting the commission, IRC is not able to fully discharge its mandates for revenue collection and licensing fee procedures. The third major challenge facing the IRC is that the management has not instituted IT tools and management resources needed to facilitate a seamless regulation of the power sector.

Another challenge is that the commission is yet to establish a transparent and effective procedure for managing applications with competing interests. To this extent, many power operators tend to compete fiercely within a significantly geographic location.

However, the IRC remains resolute in its resolve to facilitate uninterrupted power supply in the country and to regulate service operators to the delight of consumers and assurance of national development.

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Testimonial
Rosette Germaine
Rosette Germaine

After Hurricane Maria was quite a challenging period for my family and to get my home electrified. What a relief that was when the IRC intervened. That …

Testimonial
Mary-Ann George
Mary-Ann George

As an elderly, it is a relief to know that there is someplace to call when in need. Thank you, IRC, the street lights have been restored by …

Testimonial
Cynthia Bellot
Cynthia Bellot

I learned about the IRC through one of their Health & Safety Campaign. I am happy to say that finally no more threat of rotten pole over my residence. …

Testimonial
Pinard Joseph
Pinard Joseph

I have a very good relationship with the IRC. Great customer service, prompt attention. If you are a consumer of electricity, find out how you can benefit …

Testimonial
Gilbert George
Gilbert George

IRC played a key role in getting our Distributive Energy System connected by providing critical solutions during times of conflict with the grid operator. …