PM calls for utility regulators to be innovative

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Prime Minister Mark Phillips

Prime Minister Brigadier (ret’d) Mark Phillips, this morning, said that utility regulators are responsible for ensuring proper service delivery and must overcome their challenges through collaboration and innovation.

The PM was at the time presenting the keynote address at the launch of the Organisation of Caribbean Utility Regulators’ (OOCUR) virtual three-day symposium, themed “Forging the path in a post COVID-19 era.”

Prime Minister Phillips pointed out that “the onus is upon utility regulators to ensure the entities within their scope are equipped to deliver their services and bring value to their consumers.”

The PM said too, that “as the changes brought on by the pandemic continue to roll in, there is much that needs to be done to equip both utility regulators and the entities they regulate to effectively address those changes while serving consumers.”

He added that it is imperative that utility regulators collaborate to find innovative ways of supervising the industries under its ambit to ensure consumers are protected.

“We must commit ourselves to pool our resources and support each other in ways that will achieve long-lasting positive results through sustainable strategies aimed at tackling the problems at hand.”

The Prime Minister noted the challenges faced by companies as they seek to increase their virtual presence. He said that it is estimated that 54 per cent of utilities worldwide will experience a cyber-attack as attackers prey on new and vulnerable users.

He noted that the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) of Guyana is already busy given that Government recently liberalised the telecommunications sector and is the process of reviewing the 1999 legal framework of the electricity sector, to include renewable energy.

“These and other advancements will call for greater measures to be put in place by the PUC as it continues to carry out its mandate.”

OOCUR is a non-profit consortium of utility regulators designed to improve utility regulation in the region through information sharing and training. It has 12 member states including Guyana, which is represented by the Public Utilities Commission.