OfReg ordered to release CUC fuel and solar reports

| 13/02/2024 | 39 Comments
Solar panels outside CUC offices

(CNS): The Office of the Ombudsman (OMB) has ordered OfReg to release two reports, in full, that were created by CUC and given to the utility regulator. A freedom of information request in April last year had encompassed the 2014 CUC Cost of Service Study and the Incremental Distributed Solar Study (2023), but both had been withheld and the applicant had appealed to the OMB. Ombudsman Sharon Roulstone found that the documents were not exempt from the law. She also discovered that they revealed a conflict of interest.

The FOI had been made for “copies of all fuel efficiency studies and cost of service studies” related to the CUC. While the two reports were initially entirely withheld, a portion of the study on the cost of service, which had been given to OfReg to justify CUC’s proposal to increase base electricity rates, was released during the appeal process.

OfReg had claimed that the release of the reports would prejudice CUC’s commercial interests in a bidding process for renewable energy generation. However, Roulstone found that OfReg had not demonstrated the relevance of the records to the bidding process or the potential harm to commercial interests that might be caused by releasing them.

The applicant himself had argued during the appeal that there is no competition for CUC in the sale of electricity to consumers, so claims that the cost of the service is commercially sensitive were “absurd and simply illogical” and there was no risk from any other fossil fuel competitor in this country.

Roulstone also raised a general concern about how the proposed bidding process for renewable energy generation was being conducted.

“It appears that one bidder (CUC), which already holds a monopoly position in terms of the sale of electricity, is co-designing the specifications of the request for proposal for an upcoming bidding process, in which they, themselves, will be an interested party,” she said in her written decision.

“In my mind, this has the appearance of a conflict of interest. It may be fairer in these circumstances to ask whether disclosure of the responsive records… would be more likely to undermine, or rather enhance effective and fair competition, given that one party already seems to have an advantage.”

Given her findings, she ordered that both documents be fully disclosed since releasing them could not “reasonably be expected to destroy or diminish information of a commercial value, nor would the release prejudice the commercial interests of any person or organisation”.

Although a public interest test was not required, Roulstone also found that it would be in the public interest to disclose the records, concluding that “the public interest in disclosure would far outweigh the public interest in maintaining the exemptions. In other words, even if one or both of the exemptions claimed by OfReg were to apply to the responsive records — which I have found not to be the case — disclosure of the responsive records would be required in the public interest.”

There is no doubt that both studies will reveal a considerable amount of information into the public domain about how CUC is granted rate hikes, which impacts everyone but has not been previously available. The solar study will also offer some further insight into how CUC has been managing its solar programmes and the limited release of access to the grid for the owners of solar panels and domestic wind turbines.

OfReg has 45 days from the date of the decision (5 February) to apply for a judicial review of the order to release the documents. If no application to the court is made before 15 March, the reports must be disclosed.

A tiny part of the 2014 Cost of Service Study remains redacted, namely, a signature which is protected as personal information.

See the OMB decision in full below:

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Category: Business, Politics, Private Sector Oversight, utilities

Comments (39)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Perhaps the Governor could do a momentous miracle before she retires and leaves, set up an independant Consumer Commission, one year rotation of educated, knowledgeable members from UK to serve the ‘everyday’ consumers who are ripped off daily by these service providers, banks,
    supermarkets et al.

    Dream on….

  2. Anonymous says:

    Next we need to see the Value of Solar study which was completed at the end of last year. It was commissioned to let us all know what CUC should be paying for solar energy.

  3. Cockroaches flourish at offreg. says:

    Cockroaches run when they are exposed to light. Offreg must be dismantled and evidence of collusion and or extreme incompetence must be brought before a court.

  4. Anonymous says:

    “The secret ingredient is crime” – Super Hans.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I wonder how much CUC stock members of ofreg own

    • Anonymous says:

      Not just OfReg members, Lodge members, past a current legislators, policy makers, politicians and influential powerful individuals and families.

      • Anonymous says:

        There is a national interest in CUC by way of dividend dependence. This is not by accident. A monopoly provider with guaranteed long term contract, guaranteed profit margin and guaranteed dividend, supported by CIG in every way and every department.
        The solar capability could significantly change the power landscape but for decades CUC has fought against it and continues to do so.
        As a nation our dependance on fossil fuel and carbon output are a disgrace. How can we attend forums such as COP28 and be taken seriously?
        Shame on CUC and shame on CIG.

  6. Anonymous says:

    How can the bill still be same/more when the A/C has not been on for nearly 3 months….

  7. Anonymous says:

    Speaking of agricultural sustainability, OfReg also said NO to cheaper locally produced food: https://www.instagram.com/p/CqDzh8YpWl6/

    • Anonymous says:

      It’s a crying shame that this project wasn’t able to move forward.

    • Anonymous says:

      Did OfReg say no, or did OfReg say there is a process required that cannot be bypassed and that you had bad advice from one of your partners?

      • Anonymous says:

        they said no.

      • Codi says:

        OfReg has said no. That is usually the meaning of a denied application.

        The process they are stating does not apply to our project as our project is not utility-scale per the only definition of utility-scale in the NEP. You can check out the definition here:


        Utility-scale requires you to sell all the energy produced to the utility. We are not selling all our energy to the utility, only the excess. This is already being done within one of the solar programs. Unfortunately, the program is size restricted and we are not able to apply because of this.

        If the size of the program increased to what we require the issue would be solved. It is very trivial to get this going.

        If you want more info you can send me an email at info@primitivegreens.ky or WhatsApp me at 936-7746.

      • O says:

        OfReg should investigate Brac Power & Light Co. Diesel price went down by 75 cents per gal at the pumps and they raise the fuel factor price.pp

    • Anonymous says:

      Powerful grocery chain families are lobbying OfReg to keep the status quo. Woe betide anyone who threatens their monopoly.

    • Anonymous says:

      That’s misleading. I agree ofreg full of sh!t but what this guy wanted to do and what he says ofreg said “no” to is not the same

      • Anonymous says:

        Can you explain why it is misleading?

        • Anonymous says:

          How did OfReg say no to data protection, for one?

          • Anonymous says:

            I don’t know – how did they? And what is number two? Or was it just one point you nitpicked as possibly-errant and decided to throw the baby out with the bathwater?

            If you weren’t replying to these posts so quickly, I’d almost assume you work at OfReg.

          • Codi says:

            The video was made in response to an article published by the Cayman Compass.


            The Compass was following up on a previous article they did on the project. To get both opinions, the reporter from the Compass called OfReg and they were given details about the project, most importantly he was told the project was denied and the reasons for the denial. This was news to us when the reporter called for our input.

            We requested a response from OfReg regarding what they told the Compass, as we were unaware of a denial. We requested this before the article was published (note we’ve been waiting over 4 months prior to the call from the Compass to get a decision after continuous emails asking for an update) and we waited about two weeks with no response from OfReg. After the article was published, we then had to file a complaint to the Ombudsman’s Office and an FOI for the status of our own project!

            After filing the complaint and going through the time period required in the complaints protocol, OfReg was forced to issue its first official decision to us on June 1, 2023. The article was written in March.

            If no official decision has been made, can this information be disclosed to someone in the public? If no official decision has been made, shouldn’t the application be considered pending? One would expect a certain level of confidentiality given the proprietary data disclosed for any pending application. You cannot simply call and be given details about a pending application for someone else’s project.

            I am more than happy to provide the filed complaint and decision from the Ombudsman’s office showing the above and confirming when we received the first official decision on June 1.

            If OfReg treated our application with the same vested interest and confidentiality as they are treating the two documents this article is about, saying “no to data protection” would not be in the video.

      • Anonymous says:

        wow ofreg employees commenting to push a narrative i guess

      • Codi says:

        I would disagree.

        The proposals, applications, presentations and countless meetings with OfReg proposed everything described in the video and they have denied what was proposed.

        The amount of energy we need to start providing the island with herbicide and pesticide free produce at an affordable price and at scale is absolute and will not change in the first phase.

        The denial based on the amount of energy needed is why it is not misleading. We need the energy, it is not optional. It is no different than the project needing water, water is not optional.

  8. Anonymous says:

    This should be good. Shame nothing will change though.

  9. Anonymous says:

    OfReg is a co-conspirator with CUC. CUC has a 20 year transmission license coming up for renewal in 2025. It should not be renewed. CIG should assume ownership of existing transmission architecture and lease it back to energy providers, opening up the playing field. Drill into these corrupt conflicts and make arrests.

    • Anonymous says:

      CIG missed the 2023 deadline to give notice to CUC of amendments to their license, so it will renew automatically. We are stuck with the same terms for another 20 years come 2028. Nobody is talking about that though.

      • Anonymous says:

        Two things to ponder:

        Failing to govern by accident is Maladministration.
        Failing to govern on purpose is a crime.

      • Anonymous says:

        100% correct!!! OfReg continues to fail the people.

      • Anonymous says:

        If true about no provisional notice of cancellation having been issued, those responsible at CIG are wilful idiots who should be dismissed forthwith and without the usual full pay and benefits…….

      • Anonymous says:

        any contract can be broken if you’re willing to deal with the stipulated conditions

  10. The Truth says:

    Another great decision Jan and all residents of the Cayman Islands should bemoan the fact that you are being systematically pushed out of the Ombudsman office.

    “Remember this: They hate you because you represent something they feel they don’t have. It really isn’t about you. It is about the hatred they have for themselves. So smile today because there is something you are doing right that has a lot of people thinking about you.”
    Shannon L. Alder

    • Anonymous says:

      Why is he being pushed out, 12:51? It’s true he’s a bit over assertive at times but he’s very sound on ombudsman matters like this.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Conspiracies to suppress information should be met with criminal charges.

  12. Anonymous says:

    OfReg consistently takes stances siding with the likes of CUC against the best interest of the people.

    Reminds me of when they refused to release information on which fuel company was providing poor quality fuel.

    It’s either corruption or incompetency.


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