CASTRIES, Saint Lucia, – The CARILEC Disaster Assistance Programme (CDAP) for disaster relief and electricity restoration has been in full action during the very active 2017 Atlantic hurricane season. Thus far the Secretariat has coordinated the deployment of ninety-six (96) linemen, which is a record amount of line-workers being deployed under the programme compared to its last highest in 2004 for hurricane Ivan where seventy-four (74) line-workers were deployed.
As of October 07th, 2017 CARILEC has coordinated the deployment of fifty-nine (59) line-workers from eight (8) member utilities to provide manpower assistance for the restoration of electricity as follows:
- Twenty (20) line-workers from Grenada Electricity Services Ltd. (GRENLEC), Barbados Light & Power Company Ltd. (BLPC), St. Vincent Electricity Services Ltd. (VINLEC), and St. Lucia Electricity Services Ltd. (LUCELEC) have been deployed to Anguilla to assist member utility Anguilla Electricity Company Ltd. (ANGLEC) in its restoration effort.
- Twenty eight (28) line-workers from VINLEC, LUCELEC, Belize Electricity Limited (BEL), Bermuda Electric Light Company Ltd. (BELCO), and N.V. Electriciteit- Maatschappij Aruba (NV ELMAR) have been deployed to British Virgin Islands to assist member British Virgin Islands Electricity Corporation (BVIEC).
- Eleven (11) line-workers from BLPC and Jamaica Public Service Company Ltd. (JPSCO) have been deployed to Dominica to assist Dominica Electricity Services Ltd. (DOMLEC) with restoration efforts. Arrangements are being made to deploy more crews to the island in the coming weeks.
The following utilities had initially made crews available but subsequently needed to utilise them for their own restoration activities: Antigua Public Utilities Authority (APUA), St. Kitts Electricity Company Ltd (SKELEC), Nevis Electricity Company Ltd. (NEVLEC), and DOMLEC.
As part of the relief efforts a visit was made to the islands of Anguilla on Saturday 30th September and Tortola on Sunday 01st October by a CARILEC delegation consisting of Mr. Collin Cover, CARILEC Chairman and CEO of Grenada Electricity Services, Dr. Cletus Bertin, Executive Director,CARILEC and Mr. Trevor Louisy, CARILEC Board Director and Managing Director of St. Lucia Electricity Services Ltd.
The team was met by the CEOs of the respective utilities of ANGLEC and BVIEC; surveyed the extensive damage to the transmission and distribution infrastructure; met with their line crews on the ground; and convened two top level meetings with Government officials and Utility personnel.
A meeting was held in Anguilla with Governor Tim Foy; Deputy Governor Hon. Perin Bradley, Minister responsible for the Ministry of Infrastructure, Communications, Utilities, Housing, Agriculture, Fisheries & Environment; the Hon. Curtis Richardson; ANGLEC CEO Mr. David Gumbs; and other government and utility officials to discuss future restoration activities.
The CARILEC delegation also met with the Hon. Mark Vanterpool, Minister of Communication & Works, and District 4 representative in Tortola. After this visit, a decision was made to provide additional crews on these islands to assist with the accelerated restoration of electricity services. The following additional crews were deployed as of October 12th, 2017 as a result of this decision:
Four (4) crews in Anguilla totaling 21 linemen: Bahama Power & Light (BPL) (7), NEVLEC & SKELEC (6), Montserrat Utilities Ltd. (MUL) (4), & Guyana Power & Light Inc. (GPL) (4).
Three (3) crews in BVI totaling 16 linemen: Caribbean Utilities Company (CUC) (7), GRENLEC (4), & VINLEC (5).
We are extremely grateful to the CARILEC member utilities that have shown the meaning of true Caribbean integration and solidarity through their invaluable unwavering commitment to CDAP, and their readiness to provide crew assistance.
The Secretariat will continue to collate and disseminate information from member utilities concerning the progress of the restoration efforts and the associated needs. The level of regional manpower assistance required will be continually reviewed and we shall continue to facilitate arrangements for the movement of personnel, materials, tools and equipment to accelerate the safe and complete restoration of electricity services to affected locations.