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(PRESS RELEASE) – On behalf of the Board of Directors, Management and Staff of the Caribbean Electric Utilities Services Corporation (CARILEC), I would like to convey our deepest sympathies to the family members and loved ones of those who lost their lives as a result of the passage of Hurricane Irma.
Our thoughts and prayers are with those who may have been injured, rendered homeless or otherwise displaced and adversely impacted by the devastating weather system.
In addition to the activation of the established CARILEC disaster preparedness and response protocols, prior to, during and after the passage of hurricanes Irma and Jose, the Board Directors from territories not affected by the weather systems and the management of the Secretariat convened via teleconference on Friday afternoon to review the unfolding situation. Mindful of the humanitarian, economic, financial and social costs and implications of prolonged loss of electricity supply, measures were established to escalate, expedite and expand the response mechanisms, given that the devastating events have resulted in catastrophic damage and significant disruption across several jurisdictions within the same time frame.
CARILEC continues to make preparations to coordinate and support the disaster relief and restoration efforts. Indeed, some impacted utilities have already made requests for manpower assistance, and the Secretariat has been progressing with the necessary arrangements to facilitate the coordination of restoration activities.
To date, nine (9) Full Member utilities, which have not been impacted by Hurricanes Irma and Jose, have indicated their desire to provide a total of 43 linemen to assist in the restoration effort. Crews have already been mobilized and deployed within the framework of the CARILEC Disaster response program. We commend St Lucia Electricity Services Ltd (LUCELEC) for their speedy response by having a team on the ground in St. Kitts from Saturday, September 9th, to assist with St. Kitts Electricity Company (SKELEC) restoration efforts.
The Secretariat will continue to acquire information from Member utilities concerning the severity of damages to their T&D infrastructure and generation plant. The level of regional manpower assistance required will be continuously reviewed and we shall continue to facilitate arrangements for the movement of personnel to accelerate the safe, expeditious and complete restoration of electricity services to affected locations.
– Cletus Bertin (Ph.D.), Executive Director