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Published:Wednesday | August 10, 2016 | 12:00 AM

Strengthening the regulatory oversight for utilities while creating opportunities is an emerging issue confronting Caribbean societies.

As such, stakeholders are being encouraged to make submissions that could be presented at the upcoming conference of the Organisation Of Caribbean Utility Regulators (OOCUR).

The OOCUR has renewed its call for stakeholders in the utility sector across the region to make the submissions before the August 21 deadline.

This year's conference, the 14th, will be held from October 26 to 28 at the Secrets Resorts and Spa, Montego, St James, under the theme 'Regulation: Creating a Spectrum of Opportunities in the Caribbean'.

OOCUR says submissions should, "as far as possible, reflect the sectoral (water, sewerage, electricity and telecommu-nications) focus of the theme.

David Geddes executive director of OOCUR, told The Gleaner that the submissions are critical to ensuring that issues of importance are given attention by regional regulators.

"This is the premier gathering of regional regulators and the opportunity is taken to review current issues which are affecting the industry. We usually invite regulators, academia and other stakeholders in an effort to ensure that the most topical issues are addressed by the finest minds in the business," he said.

Geddes added: "Of course, also critical to the success of the conference are the round-table discussions and networking opportunities. Already, interest has been expressed in presentations on topics such as energy security, energy efficiency in water and transport, open Internet [and] the regulator as a facilitator of development."

He said he could not immediately say how many submissions have been received since the first call was made over a month ago, but added that, "there has been a steady stream of proposals".

All pre-conference abstracts or proposals must be at least 250 words and must be submitted via email to by midnight, August 21.

Selected speakers will be notified of their acceptance 10 days later, on August 31.

The utility regulators' con-ference comes as discussions spread across the region about how utility regulators can become more efficient.

In a February blog post, Michele Marius, a regional consultant in information and communications technology policy and regulation, pointed to a new trend in regional utility organisation the movement from one body regulating a single utility to one entity with multiple regulatory duties. She noted that while there could be resource constraints, the decision-making process could improve as well as cost savings.