COME May 2020, Guyana is set to host the Caribbean Electric Utility Services Corporation (CARILEC) Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) and Leadership Symposium, where the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) will have the opportunity to tap in to best practices for efficiency in the energy industry.

Recently visiting Guyana to ensure that plans are moving apace was CARILEC Executive Director, Dr Cletus Bertin, who told the newspaper that the conference will be co-hosted by GPL in collaboration with the CARICOM Secretariat.

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It is set to be hosted at the Marriott Hotel, while the nearby Pegasus Hotel will serve as the spill-over hotel for accommodation.

“In terms of our major conferences. I think it’s been a while since we’ve had anything that big in Guyana,” Dr Bertin said.

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He explained that the electricity and energy industries often go hand in hand as one is needed to supply the other.

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Guyana has already become a hot spot for various energy-related conferences and experts as the country heads into first oil in December 2019, with the expectation of becoming one of the most noteworthy oil-generating countries in the world.

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Meanwhile, the demand for energy worldwide is constantly increasing, owing to economic expansion and increases in the global population, which is projected to grow to 9.2 billion by 2040 from 7.5 billion today.

It is therefore important that electric utility services such as GPL prepare themselves to meet the need.

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Speaking of what Guyana can expect from the conference, given its current challenges with electricity provision, the CARILEC executive said: “We’re going to get into some of the reasons for that [such as] why we have outages, load-shedding and so on in the electricity sector. That’s why we have conferences, for the sharing of best practices, new technologies, new techniques [and] having mutual-assistance collaboration.”

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Giving an example, he noted that in the past when GPL faced issues with regard to equipment failure, they contacted CARILEC and were presented with the assistance from sister countries.

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CARILEC comprises 106 members which include 34 full members which are electric utilities and over 70 associate and affiliate members.

“What we do is to put utilities in touch with each other to provide mutual assistance, which is more efficient and less costly than having a contractor independent sometimes,” Dr Bertin said.

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“GPL is a member and what we do for our members is industry-training, conferences, advocacy and assistance programmes after disasters [where] utility members help each other out with the restoration efforts. So, if there’s something like an earthquake or a hurricane, anything of the kind, we have a programme where we have a fund with about a million US dollars and that is used to assist the members in terms of recovery.”

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In attendance will be all CEOs of electric utilities from across the CARICOM Region and even from international locations from as far as Germany.

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Others to attend include general managers, chief financial officers, business executives, consultants, senior technical officers, vendors in the energy and electricity industries, international and regional organisations, development partners and government officials/policy makers.

The event will run from the 17-20 May, 2020 and will feature a range of exhibitors as well as a team of expert speakers.

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