Public Utilities Minister speaks at Launch of the Newly Revised Electrical Wiring Code

Caption: Minister of Public Utilities, Brigadier General (ret'd) the Honourable Ancil Antoine. (Photo courtesy

May 11, 2016: The Minister of Public Utilities, Brigadier General (ret'd) the Honourable Ancil Antoine attended the formal launch and technical workshop on the newly revised 2015 Electrical Wiring Code Part 1: Low Voltage Installations. 

The following are his speaking notes from the feature address delivered at the event:

 Dr Puran Bridgemohan - Chairman, Board of Directors of the Trinidad and Tobago Bureau of Standards (TTBS)
 Mr Theodore Reddock – Executive Director (Ag), TTBS
 Mr Marlon Williams - Chief Electrical Inspector, Electrical Inspectorate Division, Ministry of Public Utilities
 Mr Errol Rampaul, Head, Standardization Division, TTBS
 Mr. Norris Herbert , Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Trade and Industry
 Officials of Government Ministries and Agencies
 Members of the current and past Electrical Code Committees
 Other Members of the TTBS, Board, Management and Staff
 Specially invited guests
 Workshop Participants
 Members of the Media
 Ladies and Gentlemen

Good morning to you all.

I am pleased for this opportunity to say a few words to you on this momentous occasion dedicated to the Formal Launch of the 2015 version of the Electrical Wiring Code for Low Voltage Installations. As you know, this Code is one of the most important tools used by the Electrical Inspectorate Division (EID) - which falls under the Ministry of Public Utilities - in the execution of their regulatory responsibilities to ensure electrical safety in our country.

As the line Minister responsible for the Electrical Inspectorate Division, it gives me great pleasure to be a part of this significant event and to lend support to the EID, other Ministries and State Agencies, and the entire electrical fraternity represented here today.

As many of you know, National Electrical Codes prescribe and codify the use of electrical products and systems thus ensuring that there is a safe and consistent approach to wiring methods and procedures.
Although it may not always be evident, the root cause of many fires and the resultant fatalities lie with faulty electrical systems, especially in cases where periodic re-inspection and approvals were not sought for building extensions, system modifications and other changes to load conditions. I am therefore happy to see that the Technical Workshop segment of today’s programme will provide practitioners with a better understanding of the new Code, which will in turn enhance your practice and compliance with the requirements of the Electrical Inspectorate. I wish to suggest that it is also a great opportunity for meaningful interaction between the team from the Inspectorate and the hundreds of electrical practitioners gathered here today – who will normally meet in their day-to-day operations only in the context of having electrical installations approved or in some cases other regulatory activity.

I am also delighted to see the excellent collaboration among the Electrical Inspectorate Division, the Trinidad and Tobago Bureau of Standards, the Trinidad and Tobago Electricity Commission, other State
Agencies, professional bodies, and the electrical fraternity comprising of electricians, engineers, consultants, managers, suppliers, and a host of other players - in bringing to completion the new version of this
important Code.

It is always good to observe this type of synergy and, in particular, to see the various state agencies working together to advance safety and quality in Trinidad and Tobago.

In this regard, my team and I from the Ministry of Public Utilities are happy to be in the company of our colleagues from other State Agencies and in particular Officials from the Ministry of Trade and Industry, and to recognize the efforts of both the Ministry as well as the Trinidad and Tobago Bureau of Standards, a critical state agency with the overall responsibility for Standards and Quality in our nation.

Please allow me to salute and commend all the committee members – past and present - from both the public and private sector for providing their expertise in the revision of the Electrical Wiring Code. It is indeed a noble and laudable effort from these persons who have made a significant contribution to our national developmental goals by assisting in laying the foundation for the safe and reliable infrastructure that will in turn, support trade, development, business and social activities in the country.

We at the Ministry of Public Utilities have been charged with the responsibility of providing efficient and effective leadership for the operations of utilities in this country. A major component of this
mandate is to ensure that the electrical utilities are properly equipped, forward-looking, and technically equipped to provide electricity services in a safe, reliable, and cost-effective manner. The Electrical Wiring Code is but one building block in constructing a platform for a safe and robust electrical infrastructure in our country. The Ministry is also involved in several major initiatives in pursuance of our mandate. These initiatives focus primarily on the continued expansion and improvement of the various public utility services, from telecommunications and the postal services, to water and electricity supply.

As we launch these new Electrical Wiring codes, I want to show the direct impact that this will have on some of these services that we at the Ministry of Public Utilities provide to members of the public. The
Ministry currently runs two programmes which seek to ensure that every citizen of Trinidad and Tobago enjoys the benefits of a reliable water and electricity supply, regardless of geographical location, income or social standing.

The first of these initiatives, is the Utilities Assistance Programme (UAP), which consists of three components:
 Bill Assistance, which applies a subsidy towards the payment of the beneficiary’s water and electricity bills;
 Water Tank Assistance, which provides a water tank and the necessary fittings to eligible households; and
 Solar Panel Assistance, which provides a solar panel to houses which cannot be connected to T&TEC’s electricity grid.

Of major significance today however, would be the Electrification and the Residential Assistance Electrification Programmes (REAP). The former provides electricity poles and additional infrastructure to households and communities without an electricity supply. And the second, REAP, assists in the electrical wiring and rewiring of eligible households. This new Code system, would ensure that our Electricians are now better equipped to undertake the surveys and inspections required and certainly, our own Inspectorate Division would be in a better position to recommend and certainly prioritorise the many cases that come to their attention daily.

Each of these programmes is geared towards, pensioners, persons who are differently-abled, those who are in receipt of Government Assistance Grants and households with an income of less than six thousand dollars. In short, these programmes are geared towards helping those in our society who are most in need of assistance. As electricians and practitioners within this field, should you come across someone who might benefit from this sort of assistance during your day-to-day interactions, we ask that you tell them about these programmes.

Application forms and additional information are available at Regional Corporations and MP’s Offices around the country, as well as our Head Office on Tragarete Road, Port of Spain, and on our website:

But as life-changing as access to an electricity supply might be, the safety of those who use it is of even greater importance. We have often heard the adage that “Electricity Kills”. Electrical Safety is therefore one of the most critical factors for any property owner or occupant of a building. The Electrical Inspectorate Division plays a pivotal role in ensuring electrical safety by ensuring all electrical installations are
certified as safe for use by the consumer. The Division is responsible not only for electrical inspections but also for ensuring that wiremen are licensed and therefore competent to undertake electrical wiring.

We cannot underestimate the importance of properly qualified and knowledgeable persons performing electrical works as this is an essential component in ensuring the overall safety and reliability of
electrical systems. And so, I would like to recognize the contributions that are continually being made by the men and women of the Electrical Inspectorate Division, even as I urge you to keep striving towards greater efficiency and increased productivity as you serve the citizenry of Trinidad and Tobago.

In closing, I would like to take the opportunity to commend you, electricians, engineers, practitioners and other stakeholders for your presence here at this important session and for taking advantage of the
opportunity to improve your knowledge of the new Code requirements. Electrical safety is often overlooked in our society– and the results are often tragic and sometimes even fatal. It is therefore heartening to see the level of interest in this event - a clear indication that you recognize the significant role that you play and the tremendous responsibility you have in ensuring electrical safety, minimizing electrical hazards and protecting the health and safety of persons and property. And I would like you to give yourselves a round of applause for attending this session.

Finally, I would like to thank the Trinidad and Tobago Bureau of Standards for their initiative in establishing relevant National Codes and Standards for the electrical industry and for collaborating with us
through the years, thus assisting us in fulfilling our mandate to continuously improve the quality of life of everyone in Trinidad and Tobago. Please enjoy the rest of the programme and make the most of
the forthcoming technical workshop, as we continue to work together to bring safe and sustainable development to our beloved country.

Ladies and gentlemen - I thank you.

Residential Assistance Electrification Programmes
Electrical Inspectorate Division
Trinidad and Tobago Bureau of Standards
Ministry of Public Utilities
Minister of Public Utilities


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