Building resilient Caribbean communities and countries requires a collective approach among governments, disaster management bodies and agencies, policymakers and legislators, community-based organizations, and of course, electric utilities. While each entity contributes in a different capacity towards building resilience, the collective effort is geared towards ensuring that the impact of the hazard is minimized, lives and livelihoods are protected and assets safeguarded, and the ability to respond is strengthened. Given these objectives of stakeholders in the disaster response mechanism, the Caribbean Disaster and Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) has identified five pillars around which resilience is built. They are social protection for the marginal and most vulnerable; safeguarding infrastructure; enhancing economic opportunity; environmental protection; and operational readiness and recovery.
The electric utility is critically and strategically involved in each of these pillars. Social protection for the marginal and most vulnerable can only be executed with hospitals, shelters and care centers which have a reliable supply of power from the utility grid. Of course, safeguarding infrastructure is a major responsibility for the utility, as transmission and distribution systems need to be reinforced in preparation for a hazard and potentially repaired following impact. This is integral to ensuring that key infrastructural sectors such as telecommunications, health, water, and waste management can also commence their restoration efforts.
Enhancing economic opportunity and prioritizing environmental protection entails the diversification of energy sources by investing in renewable energy sources such as solar, wind and geothermal. These alternatives can introduce new technologies and jobs into the electric energy market, thus creating economic opportunities, protecting the environment from the effects of fossil fuel usage, and strengthening the reliability and resilience of the utility power supply. The role of the electric utility in operational readiness and recovery is a pivotal one. This refers to the capacity of the utility to respond to a power outage or other hazardous occurrences post-disaster. The efficiency of this response from the utility is paramount to the continuity of government and business operations in the aftermath of a disaster. As such utilities need to ensure that their lineworkers and other critical staff are adequately prepared to respond.
With the electric utility playing such a crucial role in building resilient communities and countries, CARILEC recognizes the importance of its Disaster Management Roundtable, to bring together disaster personnel from Caribbean utilities, to discuss their emergency response strategies and methodologies which have been particularly successful within recent years. It is also an opportunity for disaster coordinators to share the lessons learned during 2022, following the passage of Hurricanes Fiona, Earl, Ian and Tropical Storm Maria. New technologies and innovative solutions used by various utilities will also be discussed, enabling other utilities to acquire potential solutions to their current challenges.
The CARILEC Disaster Assistance Program (CDAP) was developed to facilitate mutual assistance through manpower and technical services following a disaster in a member state. Nonetheless, CARILEC is cognizant that a robust emergency response plan extends further than the scope of CDAP and encompasses the streamlining and augmenting of the key role of the electric utility in the resilience pillars identified by
CDEMA. This year’s Rountable will dive into the extent of this role and offer a deeper analysis of how electric utilities have contributed to building resilience in Caribbean communities and countries, particularly during the 2022 hurricane season.
This event is only for specially invited guests, for further information contact our Marketing and Member Services Department at firstname.lastname@example.org. This round table is targeted towards disaster coordinators, occupational health and safety managers and officers, corporate communications managers, electric utility leaders, and regional and international disaster agencies.