PUBLIC Utilities Minister Robert Le Hunte gave the assurance on Tuesday that contingency plans have been put in place to ensure that essential utilities (electricity,water, telecommunications) can be provided if measures implemented to prevent the spread of covid19 have to be escalated.
Le Hunte said long before the covid19 pandemic, he had given instructions for business contingency plans for the TT Electricity Commission (T$TEC), Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) and Telecommunication Services of TT (TSTT).
He said those plans were put to the test when TT experienced a 6.9 magnitude earthquake on August 21, 2018. Le Hunte added those plans proved effective in ensuring the population continued to receive electricity, water and telecommunications.
T&TEC, WASA and TSTT are all listed amongst the essential services in the public health regulations announced last week by National Security Minister Stuart Young.
Le Hunted explained that "very early in the game" as TT developed strategies to deal with covid19, those contingency plans were "pulled out and dusted off" and improved to deal with the new reality brought about by the pandemic. Some of those improvements, Le Hunte continued, involved identifying the key personnel in each of these entities, ensuring they are in good health and are given the proper tools to ensure they can function and deliver the services the public needs.
In the case of TSTT, Le Hunte said the Telecommunications Authority (TATT) played a helpful role in giving local service providers more broadband or spectrum to handle increased capacity. He added this was important with more people staying home and making more use of the Internet in their spare time.
Le Hunte said while the Government is doing what it can to continue to provide essential utilities to the public, citizens also have a role to play.
He explained that an important aspect of that role is not overburdening the system.
Using WASA as an example, he said people who have a more regular supply of water can help WASA supply more water to those who do not, by better managing how they use their own supply.
"You can also fix leaks in your own house," Le Hunte said.
He described the pandemic as "a call to action" for both the State and the population, saying TT's success in overcoming the pandemic will depend in large measure on the collective efforts of both, working together for the greater good of all.