An approach to public services legal challenges

The "XI Public Services Judicial Congress: Vicissitudes in Colombia” was held at the Externado November 16 and 17, 2017.

During the Congress, organized by the Externado Economics Law Department and the National Public Services and Communication Enterprises Association – ANDESCO -, experts from different State agencies, such as the Superintendency of Public Services, the National Planning Department, the Council of State, and Externado academics discussed the constant legal, regulatory, and case law changes in each of the country’s public sectors.

Among the issues analyzed in detail, based on the current situation of each sector in Colombia, were: Criteria and methodology to calculate and adjust the fines imposed by the Superintendency of Public Services; the power of regulatory commissions and uniform conditions contracts;  SUI information: Implications and challenges; administrative procedure and public services notifications based on user protection.

One of the most critical issues for the speakers was the crisis in the electricity sector, experienced in regions such as the Caribbean coast with Electricaribe, where the Government intervened a year ago due to the company’s financial problems affecting the provision of services in the area.

The meeting was inaugurated by Juan Carlos Henao, Externado de Colombia Rector, who commended the selection of the Congress theme and noted how public services are cross-cutting with human rights. “They are fundamental for the development of a Social State of Law,” he said.

Also, during the Congress, the book “Servicios Públicos Domiciliarios, Telecomunicaciones e Infraestructura (instituciones, regulación y competencia),” by Felipe Núñez Forero, was launched. The author is a Law graduate from the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, with an MSc in Public Policies and Public Administration from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

The book delves into the constitutional and legal regime of residential public services and communications in Colombia, which are the backbone of the institutions needed to address key problems in these services and ensure the long-term stability required to provide them universally and efficiently to all members of society.