Utility Regulator consults on revised Financial Penalties policy

Published: 26 October 2007

Consultation opened on 26 October 2007. Consultation closed 04 February 2008.

Summary

Utility Regulator Commences Consultation on Revised Financial Penalties Policy.

Utility Regulator Commences Consultation on Revised Financial Penalties Policy

The Utility Regulator’s governing legislation requires us to prepare and publish a statement of policy with respect to the imposition of a penalty, and to the determination of its amount. We now wish to consult with all stakeholders and interested parties as to our revisions of our original statement of policy which applied only to the imposition of penalties under the Energy Order. Our revised statement of financial penalties policy can be viewed here, and now therefore proposes to adopt a cross-utility approach to make provision for the Utility Regulator’s role and responsibilities in respect of the imposition of financial penalties and the determination of their amount as regards any holder of a licence for water or sewerage services in Northern Ireland.

Our Forward Work Plan (FWP) discussed the need to balance extended timescales for consultation with the need to maintain progress and momentum on key work areas and timescales for consultation laid down under relevant legislation. Our FWP concluded that in respect of major policy development, we should seek to consult for a minimum of 12 weeks and allow for written consultation at least once during the process. We believe that our proposed statement of policy with respect to financial penalties is a very important, and indeed, a central plank of our enforcement powers. We recognise the significant potential impacts which such policy could have on the companies we regulate. Accordingly, we view the proposed statement as a major piece of policy in development, and therefore propose to conduct our consultation in a deliberative and proportionate timeframe, which will provide at least 12 weeks for all interested parties to furnish us with comments.

Responses should be forwarded, preferably in electronic form, to either Karen.algie@niaur.gov.uk or briege.tyrie@niaur.gov.uk or by post to;

Karen Algie or NIAUR Legal
Queens House
14 Queen Street
Belfast
BT1 6ER
Tel: 028 9031 1575 Fax: 028 9031 1740

The deadline for receipt of comments is 1700h on Monday 4th February 2008

Please Note - The Utility Regulator intends and prefers to publish all comments received, but we are prepared to facilitate those respondents who wish certain sections of their submission to remain confidential. Accordingly, respondents that so wish should submit these sections in an appendix that is clearly marked “Confidential”.

Copies of the document will be made available in large print, Braille, audio cassette and a variety of relevant minority languages if required.

Notes for Editors

The Utility Regulator is the informal name for the Northern Ireland Authority for Utility Regulation (NIAUR) the regulator of the Electrcity, Gas and Water and Sewerage industries in Northern Ireland. NIAUR’s powers are derived from the Electricity (Northern Ireland) Order 1992, the Gas (Northern Ireland) Order 1996 as amended by the Energy (Northern Ireland) Order 2003 and the Water and Sewerage Services (Northern Ireland) Order 2006.

For further information contact:-

Conall McDevitt, Weber Shandwick Tel: 028 90764911, 07770 886933

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