Consumers should expect a steady reduction in prices for electrical services related to the construction sector in the foreseeable future.
This follows the Ministry of Science, Energy and Technology (MSET) actioning the recommendations of the Fair Trading Commission (FTC) to improve the level of competition in the electrical inspector services market.
FTC Executive Director David Miller, said the guidelines “will drive consumer awareness of choices, quality of service and prices”.
They will also address the significant price hike within the market following the privatisation of service providers as well as the use of the recently created Government Electrical Regulator (GER).
The GER is an entity under MSET with responsibility to regulate electrical installation and inspection processes, register electricians, enrol technical electrical assistants, and license electrical inspectors. It is also mandated to ensure safe electrical installations throughout the island.
Following the guidance of the FTC, the Ministry will undertake a comprehensive sensitisation and public education programme targeting inspectors, electricians, and consumers.
The Ministry has also moved to increase the number of inspectors available in each geographical region and prevent underbidding and bid rigging.
Miller said the number of inspectors in each region has been steadily increasing over the last two to three months.
Other recommendations include encouraging consumers to shop around and obtain quotations from at least three inspectors before making a decision and for inspectors to provide consumers with the relevant information in keeping with the requirements of the Fair Competition Act.
The Act orders the maintenance and encouragement of competition in business, trade and when supplying services in Jamaica. This is to provide consumers with competitive prices and product choices.
“We are also advising that the trade association should refrain from discussing or comparing prices, as this may lead to collusion or price fixing, which is in breach of the Fair Competition Act. And [it should] take steps to limit the likelihood of underbidding by inspectors to obtain a job, by advising them that their final price should not vary materially from their quotation,” Miller said.
The GER complaint unit’s technical capacity is also expected to be strengthened and fortified with a robust complaint system, based on the recommendations of the FTC.