UTILITY companies should be charged for the excavation permits they need to dig up roads, Mr Jenney said. This would save the taxpayer about $17 million a year. He said a considerable number of permits were cancelled after being issued to utility firms and levying a charge on the permit would improve the situation. The Government had informed utility companies in 1991 of its intention to collect a fee, but the proposal had not been implemented. The Lands Department said its heavy workload, especially on works related to the handover of military land, was the major reason for the delay. The department agreed to implement the fee as soon as possible. The fee could be between $720 and $1,500 per permit. Utility companies have to obtain a permit before they begin road works. The auditor's report also urged the Government to study as soon as possible measures which could produce quicker and more tangible results in reducing disruption to traffic due to road openings.