OfReg still has no policy to address gas prices

| 17/03/2022 | 69 Comments
Cayman News Service
Duke Munroe on Radio Cayman

(CNS): More than five years after the Utility Regulation and Competition Office (OfReg) was established, it is still determining the best approach to regulate the price of fuel at the pump in Cayman, as this issue is one of its primary goals. Duke Munroe, OfReg’s executive director of fuels, has said that the regulator continues to work towards determining the best regulatory model for the jurisdiction based on public concerns and what makes economic sense. He said OfReg was still considering recommendations about what the oil importers and the government can do right now to manage the surge in prices relating to the current geopolitical situation.

Appearing on Radio Cayman’s Talk Today programme hosted by Dwayne Sterling Ebanks, he said that the regulator currently monitors local fuel prices to ensure they broadly align with the global price trends. They then check that there is not a significant difference between the price the wholesalers paid for the fuel when it is imported and the price at the pump.

If those prices go beyond the traditional margins, the regulator can direct entities to address that. However, OfReg does not impose any price controls.

Despite broad concerns that OfReg is not protecting consumers, Munroe said the regulator was “committed to the people of Cayman” and denied being out of touch with the realities and impact of fuel prices.

“We are on the ball with these things… despite some of our limitations,” he said, maintaining that fuel was efficiently managed and regulated because the wholesalers are obligated by law to share with OfReg the quantity, quality and prices they pay.

With prices rising on the world market since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as well as the fallout from the pandemic, Munroe said prices in the Cayman Islands are based on the details that OfReg reviews based on the information from the importers. He said the issue was complex but OfReg takes its obligation to ensure that prices at the pump are based on the cost of the product as it comes in very seriously.

He accepted that there were concerns around how and when prices increase. “We are looking at ways we can bring some more clarity… and be more transparent,” he said.

Munroe said prices are currently increasing because the oil prices have been going up on the world market since January, and the recent increases will be based on what the wholesalers paid last month. “Those price increases are based on product imported in February,” he added.

Explaining the challenges of a volatile market, he said the regulator was watching out for consumers.

“We certainly want to assure the public and all stakeholders that we are working in the best interest of consumers in these somewhat unique circumstances, where we are faced with prices rising at what can be considered unprecedented levels. We will do our part to make sure the most efficient pricing is reflected… at the pumps,” he said and urged people to try to reduce their consumption at this time.

“We are also going to be making recommendations… in terms of what extra the oil companies can do, what extra the government can do… to alleviate the impact,” Munroe said, adding that OfReg had to balance accessibility as well as sustainable prices.

Despite the persistent allegation that OfReg has always been too close to the stakeholders it was created to regulate and has not focused on consumer protection, Munroe said the regulator was looking out for the public as the consumer is more vulnerable, and that OfReg would continue to be the “voice for consumers”.

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Category: Business, Politics, Private Sector Oversight, utilities

Comments (69)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Ofreg/ CNS,please confirm how many times you have seen Mr. Duke Munroe in the field doing field work as chief fuel inspector..? when He was with chevron, He was never in the field. He Munroe have no field experience. Kurt Tibbetts and previous premier knew this.. Duke worked with chevron as Finance advisor for Cayman and Guyana…

  2. Anonymous says:

    You need to give Sir Peter Gough, esteemed saviour of civil and public authorities Governance a chance to put OfReg on the right path. His appointment as Interim CEO is a clear indication that the DG is determined to get this SAGC functioning as it should. Not sure what magic he is going to conjure up to help the current senior management find their way out of the quagmire they’re in. But if it is possible, Sir Peter is the man for the job!

    Plus, with 2 dynamic and brilliant ladies now added to the Board, nonsense will not be tolerated and OfReg will soon become the example for all SAGCs to aspire to!

    Based on these plans, OfReg has a lot to get done in the next 8 months of this year: 2022 Annual Plan(29 – November – 2021 so the sooner they get cracking the better!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Duke Monroe, while heading the Fuel Inspectorate, predecessor agency to OfReg, commissioned a public interest study (with our money) which reviewed the quality of the pump gas at each fuel station, and condition of holding tanks (rust particles, fish and salt water penetrations, franchise-specific dilution, etc). The Fuel Inspectorate took it upon themselves to redact all the names and locations corresponding to samples, many of which were of a failing standard. The reason given was to protect the fuel station owners from public commercial bias. This is Duke Monroe.

    • Anonymous says:

      Please do a simple search on OfReg’s website and you will find this information. The Ombudsman ruled that OfReg had to provide the key to locations. Find the Ombudsman’s decision in CNS Library under OfReg and here for the reports and location keys: https://www.ofreg.ky/fuel/publication.
      Maybe you should ask where did Mr Duke Monroe work before he was appointed as Fuel Inspectorate….

      • Anonymous says:

        Price is one thing, quality is another.

        Basically when we are paying up for Premium 8000 or 93 gas, consumers are at best only receivng 82-88 motor octane out of that pump, plus gum, and whatever dilution solvents, water, and foreign compounds the station owner is willing to let pass for gas. Consumer quality testing is only conducted once a year, over one or two sample dates, from 7 or 8 stations.

        There’s also clear evidence of fraud, where OfReg have (unsurprisingly) failed to blow their whistles. eg. at H&B Esso on West Bay Road (F31) the gas being sampled out of the 5000 and 8000 pumps 4 minutes apart on Nov 5th 2019 were testing out in Puerto Rico as the exactly the same stuff – just priced differently by coloured nozzle. How is that not prosecutable?

        https://www.ofreg.ky/fuel/upimages/publication/FuelAnalysisJuly2019toDecember2019_1598472365.pdf

        Caveat Emptor Cayman.

  4. Anonymous says:

    It is very very very very very very very very very very very hard!

  5. Anonymous says:

    OFREG knows that some gas stations are selling sub-standard fuel. They provide a code for each gas station so the consumer will never know exactly which stations to avoid.

    They are protecting the gas stations instead of the consumers they work for.

    Just shut it down already, at least we won’t have to waste more money paying their exorbitant salaries.

    • Anonymous says:

      It’s worse than that. Regular pump gas and premium are testing overseas as the same thing, and OfReg aren’t blowing their whistle for consumers.

  6. Anonymous says:

    OFFREG still has no policy…………Nothing has changed then? Close the Lodge Cookie Jar already! Let the free loaders get real jobs and do real work like the rest of us.

    • JM says:

      Private sector board. Zzzzzzs.

      Airports Authority couldn’t get parking right even with a change of the board. Governor had to issue a statement.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Kurt Tibbetts, the. “gift of nothing” that keeps on giving us nothing. I remember the grandiose speech made by Kurt, when he was cheating this waste agency. And as typical KT-Boom Flash, Firworks, Sparkle….fizzle…smoke, nothing.

    Shut this agency down. Save us the frustration.

  8. Jauhnbuhl says:

    Let’s face it gas, is still pretty cheap in Cayman and one does need to use much of it.

  9. Anonymous says:

    . They then check that there is not a significant difference between the price the wholesalers paid for the fuel when it is imported and the price at the pump.

    If those prices go beyond the traditional margins, the regulator can direct entities to address that.

    And what pray tell does Ofreg consider “a significant difference” or “a traditional margin”? Consumers would live to know just how much per gallon the retailers are making, because “”traditional margin” sounds awfully like “ if you only charge an arm and a leg like you usually do, and don’t take the other arm and leg as well it’s ok”.

    • Anonymous says:

      Why are you going after the Caymanian gas station owners, not the foreign suppliers who are making the most money? The gas station make the exact same margin whether gasoline is $3 or $7.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Headline could have been left at the first five words.

  11. Ambassador of Absurdistan says:

    More proof of Just Another Day in Absurdistan

  12. Anonymous says:

    Only one kind of gas coming from there.

  13. Anonymous says:

    More than 5 years in existence and how many millions in salaries to yield us zero in savings. In fact because of OfReg’s mere existence we’re paying more, much more.

    Mr. Premier obviously doesn’t have the nads to close down his Lodge Brethren’s Country Club

  14. Anonymous says:

    🤣🤣🤣

  15. Noname says:

    Another top heavy agency which stands disconnected from reality ! Which has been kowtowing to special interests and provided no benefits to the consumers , further entrenched CUC’s monopoly in terms of power distribution. Delayed any form of effort to provide the island with sustainable power . I think it is high time to reconsider the present policies which have done little but amplify the oncoming impact .

  16. Anonymous says:

    Seriously OfReg does nothing to help the consumers, so why the people put up with it. The people should stand up and demand it to be shut down to save the tax payers money and put it to some other good use.

  17. Anonymous says:

    What is the point of OffReg? They never regulate anything, completely pointless to have.

  18. Anonymous says:

    That’s a bit unfair of you CNS. OfReg staff have not been able to travel overseas for two years because of Covid. It typically takes three years of traveling to conferences overseas, followed by two years of consulting services, to produce a policy.

  19. Anonymous says:

    So after last weeks article where OffReg stated that suppliers couldn’t inflate prices on speculation and everyone called them useless, everybody was right, Off Reg is useless 👎⛽️

  20. Anonymous says:

    Dumb & Dumber

    • Anonymous says:

      Is Offreg for the 3 Cayman Islands or only for Grand Cayman, never hear them say that they checking the Brac and Little.

      • Anonymous says:

        17 @ 6:30 pm – Brac & Little? OfReg has proven it’s not for the Cayman Islands at all, just a few Lodge brothers and theirs! Big salaries, cushy offices, fancy SUVs, NO output!!

      • Anonymous says:

        Mate, they are doing jack in Grand as well. Don’t feel you are being left out.

  21. Anonymous says:

    The ineptitude at this government agency makes me suspect there is more to it. Who is really making money off of it? I hope the board members are not. Wasn’t the Chairman making an outrageous amount? For doing what?

  22. ThIs WrItInG Is VeRy IrRiTaTiNg says:

    If OfReg wants to gain the trust of the public they need to release the reports of the stations selling poor quality gas and diesel in a way that everyone can understand. Having a list with cryptic location numbers is absolutely useless. They need to release the list with the names and address of the stations so everyone can see them. If they are not willing to do this it just proves that they are looking out for the retailers not the public.

    • Lil Abner says:

      Actually, they are operating for themselves…….. And that is all they care about. Any fool can see that! I sees it!!

  23. Anonymous says:

    What does OfReg actually achieve…? Serious question, not rhetorical. Someone please give me some idea, cause they don’t seem to ever do anything that’s actually important.

    • Anonymous says:

      What does OfReg actually achieve…? Serious answer: The only thing that I am aware of is get money for themselves !!!

  24. Anonymous says:

    What we continue to have at OfReg is a lack of accountability. There is no way that after five years of incompetence any executive at OfReg is continuing to be paid a salary or receiving any form of benefits. Where is the accountability?

  25. The brotherhood is failing Cayman says:

    A bloody disgrace with no accountability, professionalism or shame. None of them have a clue nor do they seem to care so long as they collect the big checks and get jobs for lodge brothers. Lodge protects lodge and it costs Cayman way too much to the public

  26. SMH says:

    This is a sick joke. The time has come to FIRE EVERYBODY at the expensive mess called OfREG and start over. SMH

  27. none says:

    Government should regulate gas prices at the pump like other Caribbean countries.

    • Euno Itztru says:

      If government would quit enriching themselves and quit screwing the people it would be better, but I don’t think anything will change. Let’s face it……… OfReg has always been in it for themselves, NOT the oeople of the Cayman Islands.

  28. Anonymous says:

    Price of oil is dropping so ofreg should really just be canceled altogether they’ve done nothing to help the situation.

    • Anonymous says:

      OfReg should should never have been set up. It was formed to help friends and kinfolks etc. Maybe even some of the less-fortunate Brothers. (?) I wonder if anyone knows how much government money they have “used” so far…..

  29. Anonymous says:

    Need more shiny SUV’s.

  30. Anonymous says:

    ofreg = another cig body to keep fellow lodge members happy/paid

  31. Anonymous says:

    Just close it down – it serves no purpose!

    OfReg was intended to help the consumer – so far that hasn’t been the case.

    • Anonymous says:

      I think it was formed to help the members of OfReg create payola for themselves and friends and family and lodge brothers and God knows who else!

  32. Anonymous says:

    6 digit salaries and consultants with no outcome… #worldclass

  33. Anonymous says:

    “We are on the ball with these things”

    Hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.

    What a bunch of jokes running this place ! Then they get all replaced and the same thing again.

    How hard is it to get competent people who get sh*t done ? Honestly?

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