CARILEC has secured grant funding to deliver training for a ‘reserve corps’ of lineworkers to supplement the organisation’s current post-disaster restoration program. The funding comes through the Climate Resilience and Sustainable Energy Supply (Cli-RES) Project, which is implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH (GIZ) and funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development. This development follows the establishment of a committee put in place by the CARILEC Board of Directors to explore the expansion of post-disaster assistance beyond the existing arrangements under the CARILEC Disaster Assistance Program (CDAP).
The programme plays a pivotal role in the restoration of electricity after natural disasters and includes the deployment of Engineers to undertake damage assessments and line crews to carry out T&D line restoration work. The successful implementation of disaster restoration activities calls for the CARILEC Secretariat to collaborate with member utilities requesting assistance, and those rendering assistance as well as with regional, and international public and private sector agencies. The programme currently serves 27 member utilities in 26 Caribbean States.
The CDAP expansion project aims to build capacity within territories and ensure that utility companies have additional support in the event of a multi-hazard disaster that impacts travel and hinders CARILEC’s ability to mobilize its regional crews. The training will focus on technical aspects of post-disaster powerline and electric infrastructure restoration as well as safety and security matters. In order to increase the capacities and skills of the future lineworkers within the reserve corps, the training will cater to contractors and utility line workers in territories where the services of contractors are not available. Initial training for the reserve corps began in March 2022, with a virtual workshop in Suriname, and concurrent field training in Antigua and St. Kitts. CARILEC continues to deliver virtual and field training workshops in other targeted countries.
This training will equip 163 lineworkers in 13 Caribbean territories including Saint Lucia, Grenada, Jamaica, Suriname, Dominica, Belize, Antigua, Barbados, Trinidad & Tobago, Montserrat, St. Vincent, Anguilla, and St. Kitts. Under the proposed arrangement within these 13 territories, contractors will release the reserve line workers when assistance is needed for disaster restoration, for a period agreed upon by the parties. The lineworker reserve corps virtual and field training culminates in May 2022.