Regional Utilities examine disaster management strategies
April 26, 2024

Regional Utilities examine disaster management strategies

Electric utilities across the region have been discussing strategies for the management of disasters at the annual disaster management round table of the Caribbean Electric Utility Services Corporation (CARILEC). The forum held in a hybrid format, was aimed at facilitating knowledge sharing, strengthening relationships, and further developing collaborative mechanisms among disaster coordinators and health and safety officers from member utilities across the region, a CARILEC release states. The round Atable was convened under the theme: “Developing Adaptive Capacity: Building Resilient Utilities, Deepening Regional and Multi-Sectoral Cooperation in an increasingly Volatile, Multi-Hazard Environment.”

Using a hybrid format, the round table was conducted on Tuesday, April 23, 2024, at the headquarters of the CARILEC secretariat in Castries, and with other participants joining virtually. The agenda included presentations from utilities and key partner agencies, such as the Caribbean Water & Sewerage

Association Inc. Member utilities shared ground-breaking strategies for the management of disasters and the restoration of power supply following outages caused by major natural disasters.

With the Caribbean facing the increasing intensity, and frequency, of hurricanes, earthquakes, and other natural disasters, as well as cyber-security threats, such as ransomware and relentless phishing attacks, developing efficient and cohesive disaster management strategies for electric utilities remains a top priority for CARILEC. Discussions at the session emphasized the fact that building resilient utilities and adaptive capacity requires sustaining and deepening regional and multi-sectoral cooperation as well as enhancing a multilayered approach, at the individual, community, organizational, national, and regional levels.

Executive Director of CARILEC, Dr. Cletus Bertin said, “The roundtable provides a critical forum for our members, key institutional partners, and the secretariat, to foster greater collaboration, develop synergies and further innovate our modalities of work in this area of operations. Participants engaged in comprehensive discussions, centred on disaster preparedness, response, and recovery efforts aimed at mitigating the impact of such events on the consumer and the utility infrastructure. The outcomes of the round table will significantly bolster the social and economic well-being and stability the Region, by enhancing the ability of utilities to prepare,respond to and recover from catastrophic events.”

The Association also provides support to its members through the long established CARILEC Disaster Assistance Programe (CDAP). CDAP was established to facilitate cooperation among CARILEC Member Utilities to better manage the threat of natural disasters such as hurricanes and earthquakes. One major benefit of CDAP is the deployment of personnel from across the CARILEC utility members (Line workers and Engineers, as required) to affected utilities, to ramp

up post-disaster restoration efforts.