C’bean util­ity reg­u­la­tors con­fer­ence hailed as ben­e­fit to Ja­maica

Jamaica Gleaner - - SOCIAL SOMETHING EXTRA -

THE OF­FICE of Util­i­ties Reg­u­la­tion (OUR) is mov­ing to in­crease its foot­print in its drive to make util­i­ties ser­vice de­liv­ery more eq­ui­table, says Al­bert Gor­don, the OUR’s director gen­eral and chair­man of the Or­gan­i­sa­tion of Caribbean Util­ity Reg­u­la­tors (OOCUR).

At a time when lo­cal con­sumers are grow­ing in­creas­ingly scep­ti­cal about the ser­vice be­ing de­liv­ered by util­ity com­pa­nies, Gor­don says OOCUR’s up­com­ing an­nual con­fer­ence will give the reg­u­la­tory body more in­sight into what can be done to of­fer cus­tomers the best ser­vice pos­si­ble.

He was speak­ing on Tues­day at the press launch for the 14th an­nual con­fer­ence of the Caribbean util­ity body at the Wex­ford Court Ho­tel in Mon­tego Bay, St James.

The con­fer­ence will take place at the Se­crets Re­sort and Spa from Oc­to­ber 26-28, un­der the theme, ‘Reg­u­la­tion – Cre­at­ing a Spec­trum of Op­por­tu­ni­ties in the Caribbean’.

CRE­AT­ING SO­LU­TIONS

The con­fer­ence will en­gage reg­u­la­tors who are faced with sim­i­lar and, in some cases, the same press­ing is­sues of leg­is­la­tion and ser­vice de­liv­ery, with the in­ten­tion be­ing to come up with work­able so­lu­tions to bring about a greater level of eq­uity and bet­ter ser­vice de­liv­er­ables to cus­tomers.

“Ja­maica is host­ing this con­fer­ence at an im­por­tant time for us. As util­i­ties reg­u­la­tor, we have our hands full in deal­ing with a num­ber of is­sues per­tain­ing to in­dus­try play­ers and their role in na­tion build­ing,” Gor­don said.

He said that the OUR has a crit­i­cal stake in the ef­fort to de­liver sound so­cial and eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment, and that the up­com­ing con­fer­ence will seek in­put from reg­u­la­tory bod­ies from other ju­ris­dic­tions.

It is ex­pected that about 200 Al­bert Gor­don par­tic­i­pants will at­tend the con­fer­ence to in­clude reg­u­la­tors from the United States, Canada, the United King­dom, The Ba­hamas, Bar­ba­dos, St Lucia, Do­minica, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Is­lands, The US Vir­gin Is­lands, and the Bri­tish Vir­gin Is­lands, among oth­ers.

“The cus­tomer is faced with the con­stant change in the util­ity land­scape and, in some ways, that is good. But there is so much more that the cus­tomer can get at their end of the spec­trum, and it is our job to help fa­cil­i­tate that real­ity,” Gor­don said.

He said the uni­ver­sal is­sues deal­ing with the ac­cess to clean drink­ing wa­ter, net neu­tral­ity and the in­te­gra­tion of more re­new­able en­ergy plat­forms are some of the im­por­tant top­ics that are to be dis­cussed at the con­fer­ence.

“Reg­u­la­tors, pri­mar­ily through­out the Caribbean, share a com­mon ex­pe­ri­ence and so we are us­ing this gath­er­ing as a way to treat the com­mon­al­ity with ur­gency,” stated Gor­don.

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