OECS Commission Supports the National Utilities Regulatory Commission in Customized Training On Utility Regulation For Stakeholders In Saint Lucia

Monday, May 30, 2016 — Saint Lucia’s newly established National Utilities Regulatory Commission (NURC) has welcomed the support of the OECS Commission’s Eastern Caribbean Energy Regulatory Authority, through the ECERA Project in facilitating a capacity building seminar. 

The customized two day seminar conducted on May 19th and 20th  is designed to provide basic knowledge  on utility regulation  to the NURC Commissioners and staff, local operators, Governmental and non-governmental organisations.

Saint Lucia’s National Utilities Regulatory Commission (NURC) is grateful to the OECS Commission’s through the ECERA project for the funding provided to support this training exercise: “I don’t think we could have done it without the OECS Commission. So far we have relied significantly on the assistance of the OECS. It is much needed.”

Mr. Victor Poyotte who chairs the Saint Lucia NURC told the OECS News Link that ongoing discussions on regulation of the water, sewage and electricity sectors are at a important juncture: " It is critical to our role as the regulator. All Commissioners are interested in understanding the regulatory system and what is more important to us  is being effective."  Poyotte referred to earlier discussions on day-one regarding the “balancing act” which experts conducting the seminar say is among the best approaches towards ensuring that the needs of the regulator, utility company and customer are met in the best possible way: “ It’s important that we understand the role, function of the regulator, the timing and type of interventions we make and the implication of our decisions in achieving the national development goals of Saint Lucia and our region.”

Ted Kury the Director of Energy Studies at the Public Utilities Research Centre or (PURC) at the University of Florida suggests that continuous dialogue on energy regulation issues can help boost consumer confidence in the utilities sector: “Consumers like certainty. We ask consumers, we ask utility operators to make long term investments  in the appliances they buy and the types of homes that they buy, the vehicles that they drive and the security of supply is important for them so that they can make better decisions to improve their lives. The utility operators are concerned about maintaining their system in some cases, improving access. It’s typically up to the regulator to look at how they balance all these interests and how they ensure that the system is sustainable and will service well for 20 to 30 years from now.”

Understanding the political economy of regulation, regulating state owned enterprises and the impacts of regulation on renewable energy are among the major items for discussion during the training course.

Saint Lucia’s National Utilities Regulatory Commission was established by statute No. 3 of2016 enacted in January 2016. The NURC currently has a mandate for regulating the electricity, and water and sewage sectors in Saint Lucia.

The OECS Commission, through the ECERA Project is also supporting the Government of Grenada in its electricity sector regulatory reforms that include the establishment of  the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission.