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Caribbean utility regulators conference hailed as benefit to Jamaica

Published:Friday | October 21, 2016 | 10:00 AM
Albert Gordon

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 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.