Consumers could pay less for electrical services | New

Consumers should expect a steady reduction in prices for construction-related electrical services for the foreseeable future.

This follows the Department of Science, Energy and Technology’s implementation of Fair Trading Commission (FTC) recommendations to improve the level of competition in the electrical inspection services market.

Speaking to a recent JIS think tank, FTC Executive Director David Miller said the guidelines “will make consumers more aware of choice, quality of service, and pricing.”

They will also discuss the significant increase in market prices following the privatization of service providers as well as the use of the recently created government electricity regulator (GER).

The GER is an entity under the MSET responsible for regulating electrical installation and inspection processes, registering electricians, enrolling technical electrical assistants, and licensing electrical inspectors. It is also responsible for ensuring the safety of electrical installations throughout the island.

Following the advice of the FTC, the ministry will undertake a comprehensive public awareness and education program targeting inspectors, electricians and consumers.

The ministry also decided to increase the number of inspectors available in each geographic region and prevent underbidding and bid-rigging.

Miller said the number of inspectors in each region has steadily increased over the past two to three months.

Other recommendations include encouraging consumers to shop around and obtain quotes from at least three inspectors before making a decision and that inspectors provide consumers with relevant information as required by the Fair Trading Act.

The law directs the maintenance and encouragement of competition in business, commerce and the provision of services in Jamaica.

It’s about providing consumers with competitive prices and product choices.

“We also advise the trade association to refrain from discussing or comparing prices, as this could lead to collusion or price fixing, which is against fair competition law. And [it should] take steps to limit the likelihood of inspectors underbidding for employment, advising them that their final price should not deviate materially from their quote,” Miller said.

The technical capacity of the GER complaints unit should also be strengthened and strengthened with a robust complaints system, based on FTC recommendations.

– JIS News

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Mara W. Anderson