OfReg inching toward long-awaited fuel price transparency

| 18/12/2023 | 21 Comments

(CNS): The Utility Regulation and Competition Office (OfReg) is in the process of drafting changes to the law to allow it to publish fuel prices as they land, OfReg interim CEO Peter Gough told Finance Committee on Wednesday. The regulator is also beginning an exercise, starting on Cayman Brac, to provide regulatory accounts that show how much each gas station is making on a gallon of fuel at the pump, which Gough described as an effort to improve transparency.

More than six years after the creation of the utilities regulator specifically to address the issue of fuel prices and concerns about the huge markup between pump prices here and those in the United States, Gough told MPs that they were still working on it.

Louis Boucher, OfReg’s executive director, said that the licensees were reluctant to provide the regulatory accounts, but they were pursuing the information. “We are being fought by our licensees as they don’t think we need to know that information, but obviously, we disagree,” he said, adding that, based on the advice of their minister, Jay Ebanks, they would not be afraid to go to court.

Boucher admitted it was OfReg’s job to secure information about discrepancies regarding prices, and they were getting to the point where they will have more details about pricing. He said he would be doing what needed to be done to get a better handle on the sector. “We are working on getting more transparency out of our licensees,” he said.

Finance Committee also learned that OfReg now has the capability to test fuel here on-island and no longer has to send samples off to the United States. However, it was revealed that testing is random and usually follows complaints. After the committee meeting, the regulator issued a press release about the acquisition of a portable fuel analyser for testing gasoline, diesel, ethanol-blended gasoline and jet fuel that allows OfReg to conduct in-house testing and analysis of fuel samples and limits the need to export samples to laboratories abroad. 

OfReg said it had purchased a Grabner Instruments Miniscan IR Vision Pro fuel analyser, which will enhance its ability to monitor fuel compliance and quality assurance. The transition to in-house testing and analysis will streamline the process, reduce turnaround times and provide timely and accurate results, the release said.

“Our acquisition of the latest fuel analyser underscores our commitment to delivering the highest standards in fuel quality assurance. With this cutting-edge technology, we’re not just inspecting fuel, we’re advancing the science of accuracy and efficiency in the ever-evolving fuel industry,” OfReg Deputy Chief Fuels Inspector Ken Springer said.


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Category: Business, Fuel, Politics, Private Sector Oversight

Comments (21)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    errr, I do. If something is ridiculously priced, I go without.

  2. Anonymous says:

    This should be interesting. I work for a fuel station and was surprised at how little was made per gallon (much less than I imagined). But the fuel providers do not sell for the same price to each station. The increases and decreases (rare!) are a set amount but the base rate varies.

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  3. Donnie says:

    Gas prices plunge to a two-year low. Here are South Florida’s cheapest stations.
    https://www.sun-sentinel.com/2023/12/18/gas-prices-plunge-to-a-two-year-low-here-are-south-floridas-cheapest-stations/
    In Broward County, five stations on State Road 7 in Lauderhill and Lauderdale Lakes were selling for $2.55 a gallon

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  4. Anonymous says:

    Is the head of Offreg Inspector Clouseau?

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  5. Anonymous says:

    Blah! Blah! Blah!

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  6. Anonymous says:

    This should be interesting. We were paying $2 more per gallon than the US now its about
    $3

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  7. Anonymous says:

    Hope they’ve included the ability to check pumps for calibration! Some stations calibrate in US gallons!!

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    • Anonymous says:

      The main perpetrator shut down his pumps because he didn’t want to put any money in to upgrading them and the tanks.

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    • Anonymous says:

      The stations do not do the calibration. The pumps are owned and controlled by the wholesalers.

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      • Anonymous says:

        19@3:17pm – Then why did the owner refund me some money and blame his employees for mis-calibrating the pump??

  8. Anonymous says:

    By USA testing, it was in Puerto Rico. Even those tests found regular unleaded being sold for $0.20 more a gallon as premium at the same station. The same gas. No fines. No nothing. OfReg doesn’t read their own testing scores.

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  9. Anonymous says:

    The cabal of gouging retail gas station owners should be required to contribute 3-5% of net profit to a carbon offsetting infrastructure fund (ev charging, bike lanes, bus transport). If not now when? What is their social contribution to the community besides profiteering? Too many businesses in Cayman are content to do nothing, or so very little measurable in giveback to their own communities and workforces, even while underwriting emissions.

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  10. Livingcosthigh says:

    And now we need food prices transparency!

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  11. Anonymous says:

    Fuel is always going to be costly. Yes the price can be better BUT if you drive your vehicle in a manner which keeps the tachometer at 2000rpm or below YOU will use a lot less fuel. Therefore reducing your cost.
    FYI it is possible in most cars to do this and drive at our speed limits.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Consuming less rip-off gas doesn’t change the normalized consumer profiteering equation. Consumers have nobody in their corner. Even the CIG is ripping them off.

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  12. Anonymous says:

    About time!

    Something similar would be great at supermarkets, too. I find it hard to believe that price fixing isn’t widespread and done on a very regular basis.

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    • Anonymous says:

      As the original poster, I agree. But do something to help yourself in the mean time rather than just moan about it.

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